Fire Prevention Systems for Commercial Buildings – Best Practices

Fire sprinkler system

Adopting the correct fire prevention systems and safety practices is essential for any commercial or industrial building. Regardless of industry, uncontrolled fires can pose a serious risk to lives and property. 

While most people are familiar with the basics of fire prevention, relatively few people understand which types of fire prevention systems their particular commercial building should use.

Today, we will take an in-depth look at the importance of fire prevention for commercial buildings by exploring the leading fire prevention systems. 

If you are looking for ways to protect the safety of your employees, property, and other valuable assets, you have come to the right place. 

Why Are Fire Prevention Systems Important for Commercial Buildings?

While it may seem pretty obvious that you would want to avoid fires in any commercial space, the role that fire prevention systems play cannot be overstated. 

For starters, deploying effective fire prevention systems is essential for protecting the safety of employees, customers, and all other building occupants. Not only can they reduce the risk of death or injury by extinguishing the fire, but they can also contain the fire, allowing occupants to evacuate safely.

An effective network of fire prevention systems is also essential for property protection. Fires can pose a significant risk to inventory, equipment, and the building infrastructure itself. This is why a fire can be ruinous for a business.

Even with a commercial insurance policy that covers fire damage, the payout could be limited if it is discovered that the business did not install legally required fire prevention equipment and systems. 

Finally, fire-related damages and disruptions can completely halt all business operations, severely damaging a company’s reputation and sustainability. 

What Fire Prevention Systems Do Commercial Buildings Require? 

Now that you understand why they are so important, we can explore some of the fire prevention systems available to your business: 

1. Fire Sprinkler Systems

A properly installed and maintained fire sprinkler system should be the backbone of a commercial building’s fire prevention strategy. When the sprinkler system detects a fire, the strategically positioned sprinkler heads are activated. This ensures a rapid response, as well as full 24-hour fire protection. 

When a fire sprinkler system is maintained professionally and at regular intervals, it can be incredibly reliable. They can help extinguish fires and delay the spread of a fire, aiding evacuation efforts and providing first responders with valuable time to arrive on the scene. 

2. Pressurized Gas and Foam Systems

While most buildings will rely on fire sprinkler systems, pressurized gas systems, or clean agent fire suppression systems can also be used in buildings where water will be ineffective or too destructive. 

These systems remove oxygen from the environment, which smothers the fire and prevents it from spreading. They operate on the same principles as a fire sprinkler system but use different extinguishing agents to achieve the same aim. 

3. Smoke and Fire Detection Systems

Fire detection system

Any sound fire sprinkler system must also be paired with a smoke and fire detection system. In most cases, this type of system is a legal requirement for any commercial building. 

Basically, these systems rely on highly receptive sensors to detect smoke or high temperatures that would indicate a fire. Once detected, alarms are triggers that can alert all building occupants of fire and smoke.

In most commercial buildings, emergency services are also automatically alerted when the system is activated, which can improve response time.

Naturally, the smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detectors that make up a fire detection system can help with evacuation efforts, but they can also help reduce property damage.

Even if the detection system does not alert emergency services, building occupants can contact the fire department faster, which means the fire can be dealt with more quickly. 

4. Strategically Positioned Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguisher maintenance

In addition to an effective fire sprinkler system, your commercial building should also be outfitted with an appropriate number of fire extinguishers in easily reachable locations.

The fire extinguishers also have to be the appropriate type for the needs of the building, and all employees should receive training on how to use them safely and effectively. 

While staff should not be encouraged to risk their safety to put out a fire, fire extinguishers can be incredibly useful for containing small fires before they spread. Ensure all fire extinguishers are inspected and maintained at appropriate intervals. 

5. Containment and Evacuation Systems

Another critical aspect of fire prevention is ensuring proper containment and evacuation systems. Fire doors and fire-rated walls can help contain fires by preventing the smoke and flames from passing to other sections of the building. These containment measures can provide occupants extra time to evacuate the building safely.

Emergency lighting and high-visibility exit signage are also important. With smoke reducing visibility and the general panic and confusion a fire can cause, you need systems to help building occupants get to safety.

Employees should be trained on evacuation procedures, and all aspects of your building’s emergency evacuation systems should be tested regularly. 

The Importance of Fire Safety Education and Training

In addition to having the appropriate fire prevention systems, you must ensure all employees receive fire safety training. The following are the key elements of this training: 

  • Covering evacuation routes
  • Instructions on effective and safe use of fire extinguishers
  • Detailed breakdowns of how to use and store flammable substances
  • Full explanation of every employee’s role and responsibility in the event of a fire 

You should also conduct regular fire prevention inspections to help prevent fires from starting in the first place.

What About Water Damage Caused by Fire Sprinkler Systems?

Unfortunately, even well-maintained fire sprinklers can misfire. Regardless of the cause, accidental sprinkler activations can result in tens of thousands of dollars in water damage.

Even when a fire sprinkler correctly detects a fire, it can take a significant amount of time for the fire department to arrive and shut off the fire sprinkler system. 

Luckily, there is a simple and affordable solution! The Shutgun is a handheld tool that can shut off a fire sprinkler head in seconds. Since a single fire sprinkler can release 60 gallons of water per minute, you do not want to risk serious water damage from being unprepared. 

It is recommended that a Shutgun fire sprinkler shutoff device be kept with every fire extinguisher. The Shutgun is a quick and easy tool to mitigate water damage in the event that the main water shut off is not immediately accessible.

If you would like to know more about the Shutgun, click the link below: 

Get My Shutgun 

Final Words 

Fire prevention systems should be considered one of the most important investments you make in your business. Rather than risking lives, lengthy business disruptions, and significant property damage, make a concerted effort to protect your business.

Don’t forget to pick up your Shutgun to ensure that you also keep your business safe from expensive and destructive water damage!

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