Fire Protection Systems for Commercial Buildings
For property managers of commercial buildings, hotels, condos, data centers, hospitals and warehouses, fire safety is a major concern. More than half of all high-rise fires occur in four types of establishments: apartment buildings, hotels, offices, and medical facilities. Managers of such buildings are rightly concerned with minimizing fire risks and protecting lives and property. The good news is that basic fire protection systems like fire alarm systems, sprinklers and fire retardants actually are very successful in minimizing fire risks and in protecting lives and property.
Fire damage in hotels and hospitals
As noted above, hotels and hospitals are ranked among the types of facilities that have a very high risk of fires. Fires in hotels and motels cause $76 million in property loss each year. They are also responsible for an estimated 15 deaths and 150 injuries each year.
In hospitals and medical facilities, confined cooking fires are responsible for more than half, or 55% of all fires. The single most important cause of non-confined fires in hospitals is electrical malfunctioning, which accounts for 19% of all hospital fires.
Basic fire prevention systems, like fire sprinkler systems, can reduce the risk of fires and save lives and property.
Fire protection for commercial buildings
Fire prevention and detection is important not only for hospitals and hotels but also for data centers holding critical business and organizational information. The National Fire Prevention Association has special guidelines for fire protection and life safety for such buildings, as well as for the safety of equipment and continuity of service.
Fire sprinkler systems are highly effective in preventing the spread of fires and in limiting damage to property, injuries and loss of life. Fire sprinkler systems are highly responsive and activated in 91% of all reported cases of structure fires, when the fire was large enough to necessitate activation.
Sprinklers are highly effective
Installing automatic sprinklers in commercial buildings is an important part of fire protection systems. They are highly effective in limiting damage to property and loss of life. In buildings with properly operating sprinklers, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) records that the maximum loss of life recorded has been two people.
Sprinklers have several advantages even over fire hoses in terms of fighting fire. For a start, they are already onsite and activate automatically when a blaze is detected. They are spaced out across the building and can cover more ground. And finally, since quick response sprinklers release less water than fire hoses – 8 to 24 gallons of water per minute versus the 80 to 125 gallons per minute released by a fire hose – they are much less likely to cause water damage to the building or to impair its structural integrity.
Fire protection systems utilizing a combination of automatic sprinklers and early warning can reduce overall damage, including injuries, loss of life, and property damage by at least 50%. For property managers, that’s good news.