Four Fire Safety Terms Every Business Owner Should Know

Whenever you run a business there is a lot to learn – not just about your industry but about all the support systems that allow you to operate legally and safely. From insurance to legal-speak to safety codes, there’s a lot to take in and understand. When it comes to fire safety, it’s no different.

Don’t worry though, we’re here to help drill down some of the lingoes you should know and be aware of so that your workspace is safe and that you know what needs to be done and why it needs to be done. Here are four basic terms you should know when it comes to your businesses’ fire safety.

NFPA Standards

NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association. and they are responsible for issuing industry standards for safety.

The major codes for fire protection are:

  • NFPA 10 (fire extinguishers)
  • NFPA 25 (sprinkler systems)
  • NFPA 72 (alarm system)

You don’t need to know these codes inside and out, but when you hear them brought up by an inspector or fire safety professional, that’s what they’re talking about.

Wet and Dry Pipe

Whenever you’re going to install or upgrade a sprinkler system, there are two main types of sprinklers – wet and dry pipes. They make up basically all of the sprinkler systems you’d see in a run of the mill commercial space.

Wet pipe systems are the most common and they draw off the water supply to spray water and the pressure at which the water is distributed is what will put out a fire. The pipes are like any water pipe – they’re always full of water and with that comes some good and some bad. If the pipes burst, you’ll have a water problem so, like any plumbing asset, it’s a good idea to make sure they’re inspected regularly.

Dry pipes draw off a water source that’s hooked up right next to the sprinkler valve. Those pipes aren’t full of water; instead, they’re full of compressed air. When the sprinkler head pops, the airflow opens up in the valve and out comes the water. If you work in a building with little heat, this is the type of system you’ll be most likely to encounter. You see a lot of them in parking garages and the like – and they basically exist to make sure that the pipes won’t burst in the cold temperature.

Clean Agents

Clean Agents is a fancy term to describe chemical suppression systems. Chemical suppression is used in places where you don’t want water to do a number on anything that might get destroyed by water. People use these in data centers, museums, or anyplace where there’s water-sensitive equipment.

Backflow Preventers

Backflow is basically what happens when a liquid, gas or solid back up into a water supply and contaminate your water. These are commonly used in wet pipe configurations so that bad stuff doesn’t get into the water. After all – a leaky pipe or fire is bad enough – you don’t need any other potential hazards contaminating your space in addition to all that!

If you have any questions about today’s topic or any other fire protection topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety. We will be happy to help.

Five Fire Safety Myths

Fire safety is an important part of the operation of any building – whether it’s commercial or residential. There’s a lot to do to make sure you’re ready in the event of a fire, but there’s also a lot of noise out there with regards to what people know and take as fact. Today, we’re going to discuss some of those myths and why you shouldn’t take them to heart.

New buildings are safer

They’re not. Let’s face it – age is just a number. Any fire can be life threatening no matter how old or new your building may be. What’s important here isn’t the age – it’s the type of fire protection system you have that’ll make the difference. Is yours outdated and aging? Is it adequate for the makeup of the building or the type of business that resides within it? It’s smart to consult with a fire safety professional to understand what systems are best for your building.

Smoke detectors are enough

No way. Not even close. Smoke detectors save lives. There’s no questioning that. But they won’t help extinguish flames or tell you where a fire is located. Sometimes, smoke detectors can even fail and when they do – lives could be at stake. Smoke detectors are a must have for any building – but they’re not enough on their own to protect you.

People panic in fires

The thinking here isn’t all that outrageous. Many people don’t handle stress well. But in the event of a fire, research has actually proven to be the opposite. Having a plan and going over it with your employees and residents is the most important thing. If they’re prepared, their chances of getting to safety unharmed increase almost eight fold. By having regular drills and practicing evacuation procedures, the people in your building will be prepared and you can count on them to most likely act with a level head and get out safely.

Small fires can be put out just by you

While people think a fire extinguisher might solve their problem – the fact is and the research suggest that the most damaging fires often start small. No matter how big or small a fire is, follow your safety protocols that you’ve set in place.

Sprinkler systems freeze when it gets cold

They don’t. There are so many new ways to install and maintain sprinkler systems today, that weather and temperature play almost no role in their failures. Trust the people who are installing them that even if it’s frigid outside, that your system will work. Now, malfunctions may occur elsewhere and for different reasons. That’s why maintenance on an ongoing basis is a must-have. But the temperature won’t cause your system to malfunction.

Now that you know the facts, it’s time to make sure your building is fully prepared for any emergency that might arise. Give us a call and we’ll help you map out a plan or system that works best for your building.