Fire is one if the most devastating mishaps that can take lives and destroy property. Fortunately, unlike natural disasters with similar devastating powers, it can be largely avoided. With the right measures and precautions in place we can see that even an accidental breakout does not develop into an all out inferno. Providing for a fire safe infrastructure is not just a practical consideration, it is also legally compulsory under the National Building Code.
Equipping a building with fire fighting safety equipments should be undertaken very carefully. There are many manufacturers and types of equipments to choose from. So, how do you decide what you should invest in? Here are some tips to help your choice:
Knowing the code: There are many stipulations that a building must pass. Of these the National Building Code applies to fire security measures in a building. This is a detailed document that explains in details of all the measures a builder must take to ensure fire safety in a building. Adhering to these codes is a legal necessity and builder has to get an NOC in this regard. There are provisions for the kind of in-built measures and installed equipment that a building must have for safe premises. Some of the premises include measure such as capacity of water tanks. So, it is imperative that one reads up on the code before construction starts.
Type of building: Rules and regulations regarding some buildings are more stringent than others and with good reason. For instance, high rises are typically have high occupancy and are more difficult to evacuate. Schools in urban areas deal with minors and must again be properly equipped. Commercial properties, again, need to follow certain rules regarding fire safety measures. A single-storey residential property, on the other hand, does not need such a comprehensive stocking of safety equipment. So, knowing your type of building helps in understudying the kind go regulations you fall under.
Material stocked: This is an important factor in determining the kind of fire fighting safety equipments you are going for. The building code specifies added measures where hazardous material is stocked. Even in the same building, combustible material needs extra measures. For instance, a car park should ideally have one fire sprinkler for each car. This is also an important factor when buying for extinguishers.
Extinguishers are classified into type A, B, C, D, E and F. This classification is based on the agents, ranging from water to dry chemicals and foam. This is important because the choice of agent will depend on the type of material stocked. For instance, a Class A extinguisher that carries water is effective against organic matter like paper of cloth, but not as effective in fire involving electrical equipment. For such equipment, we need Class E extinguishers.
Occupancy: The occupant pattern in a building will determine the way fire equipment is installed. Ideally, we want comprehensive coverage in areas of high occupancy. Sometimes the pattern of occupancy can also matter. For instance, when it comes to fire alarms in a residential property, it is recommended that an alarm be placed outside each bedroom so that occupants can hear it even when they are sleeping.
Presence of people with disability: We must also account for people with disabilities when deciding on fire fighting equipment. Fire alarms, usually depending on sound, can also have visual element like flashing lights. Fire safety teams should be especially trained in evacuating people in wheelchairs, since most escape routes depend on staircases. Occupants should be sensitised and trained in helping disabled people in quick evacuation.
Right manufacturer: Finding the right manufacturer is the most crucial aspect of the selection procedure. You must look for a reliable and reputable manufacturer with stringent quality control and all required compliance certificates in place. If you are looking for more than one equipment, you should try for suppliers who offer a range of fire equipments. Look for manufacturers or suppliers who also offer maintenance services. A package deal can be cheaper than sourcing from multiple suppliers and maintenance firms.
Planning for fire fighting safety equipments must be conducted very carefully and all due diligence must be followed. Remember, failure to do so can end in your conviction and the loss of someone’s life.