Commercial fire sprinkler system

A fire is a frightening prospect for any business. Hotels and motels experience fires every year, resulting in 15 deaths and over 150 injuries annually and causing more than $76 million in property damage and loss. Healthcare properties, too, can be hot hard by fires. Between 2006 and 2010 about 6,240 structure fires at healthcare properties were reported, according to U.S. fire departments. More than half of all high-rise fires occur in four property classes, namely apartments, hotels, offices, and facilities that care for the sick. Higher average property losses per fire tend to be higher in warehouse fires, but injury rates per 1,000 fires tends to be lower. Regardless of what type of property you own, protecting it against fire is vital.

Having a fire sprinkler system is really one of the first lines of defense for properties. Non-chemical suppression systems like fire sprinkler systems function effectively more than 96% of the time in commercial spaces that house large oven ranges, for example. In fact, in 91% of all large structure fires, sprinklers operated effectively. This excludes buildings under construction and those without sprinklers in the fire area. Deaths tend to be lower in sprinklered buildings, with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) indicating that no fired has killed more than two people in a completely sprinklered building ? if the sprinklers were all operating correctly.

There are different types of fire sprinkler systems. Quick response systems are particularly useful, releasing between eight and 24 gallons of water per minute. A fire hose, on the other hand, releases 80 to 125 gallons per minute, meaning the risk of water damage is much greater. A combination of early warning systems and automatic sprinklers saves lives, halving property damage and reducing injuries and loss of life. Add to this a fire evacuation plan ? surprisingly only 35% of 119 businesses surveyed had one ? and you have cut your risk of serious injury, death and damage significantly.

For many businesses, of course, property loss need not only be in physical damage. Data centers hold critical business and organizational information around the world and a fire can result in total or partial loss. Given that the Gartner Group estimated that businesses spent about $149 billion on such facilities this year, the need for fire prevention, detection and suppression systems is even greater. In fact, the NFPA code 75 sets out minimum requirements for protecting IT equipment and the areas in which such equipment is housed. For example, in small data centers, rooms smaller than 2,500 square feet, businesses need to have an Early Warning Fire Detection (EWFD) system.

Installation by fire contractors means peace of mind, but looking after such systems after initial installation is equally vital. Fire protection system maintenance is equally important. Lack of or improper maintenance was the cause of almost half (44%) of all dry (or possibly wet) chemical system failures. Fire sprinkler inspections ensure that such systems remain functional and offer the needed protection they are supposed to provide.

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