A startling statistic is that at least half of high-rise fires occur in these four property classes: apartments, hotels, offices, and facilities that care for the sick. Every year, hotel and motel fires cause an estimated 15 deaths and 150 injuries, and result in over $75 million in property loss.
The owner of a commercial property, whether it be one of the above categories, or a sales office, data center, warehouse, shopping center, or other business usually housed in a large building, has a responsibility to protect the property, and its users, from fire. As such, it?s important to know as much about commercial fire protection as possible.
One of the first things to understand is the different types of fire protection available, such as sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, and fire suppression technology. It’s also essential to be aware of fire sprinkler inspections regulations.
Sprinkler systems are one of the most effective and efficient forms of fire protection. Commercial fire sprinkler systems are designed to contain fire until the firefighters arrive and can even, in some cases, extinguish the fire. Quick response sprinklers release eight to 24 gallons of water per minute, which, compared to the average of 100 gallons per minute discharged by a fire hose, greatly increases the speed with which a fire can be put out, and thereby reduces likelihood of water damage. In addition, a combination of early warning systems with automatic sprinklers can reduce overall injuries, loss of life, and property damage by at least 50%.
There are four main types of fire sprinkler systems, all of which are maintained through a careful schedule of fire sprinkler inspections and reviews. A fire protection contractor can explain in detail, but here is an overview of the basic types:
A pre-Action sprinkler is a special type of dry pipe system in which the water is separated from the pipes by an electric valve. The valve has separate detection for heat or smoke, which helps it to ?decide? whether or not to release water into the piping.
Wet Pipe Systems
These are the most common fire sprinkler systems. Water is always present in the pipes so they react quickly if a fire occurs. They are filled from an automatic source and release water when the sprinkler head detects a certain temperature. In addition, they are often equipped with an alarm signal that will alert the building?s larger alarm system.
Dry Pipe Systems
Typically used in extremely cold areas, the dry pipe system uses air to control the pressure of the water in the pipes. Water cannot be pushed through the sprinkler head until the air leaves the pipes, so these systems are not as fast as the wet pipe system. Fire sprinkler inspections are especially important in keeping this system working efficiently.
More commonly used for industrial locations or special cases, the deluge system releases water through all discharge devices in the system, and apply a much larger amount of water over a larger area.
However, no matter the system, proper testing and fire sprinkler inspection is crucial to making sure things work as they should when you need it the most.