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How do I Choose the Best Fire Protection System?

Article Details
  • Written By: Jessica Reed
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A fire protection system, also known as a fire suppression system, is developed to help detect and control a fire that may break out in a building. The system is designed to detect the fire as early as possible and respond to it quickly while causing the least amount of damage to other materials inside the building. A fire protection system is typically used in a business or office environment and not in a residential home. To choose the best fire protection system, the business owner should consider the size of his business, how fast he needs the system to respond, the structure of the building and the materials in it, and finally any special fire hazards particular to his business.

Different fire protection systems include wet systems, dry systems, and quick response systems. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to fighting fires. Fires also have a classification system, which varies slightly by country, to label what types of fires a business is at risk for. A fire protection system for common fires is typically a wet sprinkler or dry pipe system. The wet system sprays water through sprinklers placed at certain locations throughout the building, while a dry system deploys a frozen gas to put out the fire.

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Various problems occur with each system include freezing in the cold months for a wet sprinkler system and the fact that dry pipe systems take longer to react to a fire. Dry systems are also typically more complex and harder to install than a wet system. A wet system, however, may cause more damage to computers and papers found in the building. Quick response systems vary in design and are used most often in environments at risk for large, quick-spreading fires.

When choosing a system, the owner should first find any fire hazards and either remove them or take the necessary safety precautions to reduce the risk of a fire. He should consider what types of fires are most likely to occur and how large they would be. A building dealing with highly flammable chemicals, for example, will need a system designed to put out sudden large fires as quickly as possible.

After identifying possible fires and how they should best be dealt with, the owner should examine how many people are in the building on average and identify what areas they'll have to travel through to escape a fire. The fire protection system should keep areas clear for evacuating, getting down stairs, and making it through exit doors. It should keep the fire at bay long enough for everyone to evacuate.

An owner should keep in mind that no perfect system exists. Having a system that responds quickly may cause more damage to personal property while a system that causes less damage may have a slower response time and cause a greater risk to employees in the building. When choosing a system, the owner should always remember that the safety of the staff comes first. After ensuring the safety of the staff, he can then make any adjustments to help protect the building and the property inside it.

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