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Designing a Fire Protection Checklist

Posted on: March 22, 2013

Business owners already know how important it is to keep their assets, buildings, and people safe from fires. You can further improve your building’s fire safety by understanding how and why your individual systems work, as well as how they work together.

According to Chris Jelenewicz, engineering manager for the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, “The most important thing to help improve fire safety is to understand how all the systems in a building work: The alarms, the means of egress and passive building systems like fire doors and walls and dampers. Facility executives must understand how they operate. All of the systems have a common goal and that is to protect people and property. They work together as one integrated life system. Like a band, they all do different things, but they play to the same beat. If the systems don’t work together, they could actually make matters worse.”

For best results, it helps to develop and implement a checklist for maintaining and servicing your fire protection systems, which should include information about the timing of professional fire system inspections. That said, there are a few things you should check that codes and standards won’t cover.

  • The most common cause of fire sprinkler failure is a closed sprinkler valve. The valve may have been closed for a number of reasons – it could have been turned off for maintenance or even twisted by a building worker. To keep your building safe, make sure you check your valves about every week to make sure they’re open.
  • A main drain test should be included on the checklist. The five-minute test measures the static pressure and then measures the pressure of water flowing. The purpose is to determine whether there are any obstructions, such as broken or frozen pipes, in the system.
  • Fire alarm systems and their audibility should be tested regularly as well – especially if you have a voice alarm. Fire drills should be conducted regularly to ensure that everyone in your building can hear the signal and understands the instructions being given.
  • Control panels should also be tested, as these provide valuable information about things like closed valves and other problems before an emergency occurs.
  • Finally, make sure you walk the exit routes to make sure all your modes of egress are clear of debris and blockages. Historically, blocked exits are the cause of most fire-related deaths in commercial buildings.

If you own or operate a building in New Jersey, Delaware, or Philadelphia, call Confires today. We can make sure all your fire protection systems are operating perfectly and will be able to protect you in the event of a fire.

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