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Fire safety is integral for business owners. A fire can spark in an instant and spread within seconds. Businesses investing in fire protection systems realize significant benefits when the systems perform as expected. These systems reduce damage to the building, expensive equipment, documents, and inventory. Fire suppression systems, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems are all types of fire protection systems that help with fire detection and protecting building occupants and equipment.

Understanding How a Fire Protection System Functions

It is important to understand the functionality of fire protection systems. Systems work in different ways, but all have a common goal to detect a fire and protect the building, its occupants, and valuables. A common fire protection system is a smoke detector and a sprinkler. If a fire sparks, smoke sets off the detector causing the sprinkler system to activate. The water protects against the spread of fire. While this is an effective method, when dealing with certain critical equipment or special hazards, automatic fire suppression systems using clean agents are a better choice. These systems detect and suppress fire while leaving no residue.

Benefits of Fire Protection Systems

One of the main benefits of a fire protection system is that in the long run, it saves money. Think of a business and what investments are made in manufacturing equipment, information technology hardware, and infrastructure. If a fire impacts operations for a significant period of time, it could cost a company millions of dollars. A prime example is a machine shop that manufactures parts. If the shop were to experience a fire and shut down for multiple days or weeks, the business would suffer immensely. Equipment may need to be replaced, and valuable contracts could be lost. Businesses must take into consideration all factors when they look at the price of a fire protection system.

Another benefit of some types of fire protection systems is the automatic dispatching of emergency services. These systems will work to immediately suppress the fire, while also notifying the authorities to send emergency professionals to your location.

Determining the Appropriate Fire Protection System

How do you go about determining the best system for your business? You must consider the facility you are protecting, compliance with building codes, and potential insurance requirements.  Because many fire protection systems are permanent, it may be important to think about your facility's future needs, not just its current needs. For example: if you are protecting a server room and expect to add more servers as time goes on, can you add onto the system?

When selecting and installing a system, it is essential to hire a company with a comprehensive understanding of your needs who can customize your fire protection options. If your building is not up to code or machines and equipment are not adequately protected, you may face exposure and downtime.

Active vs. Passive Fire Protection

Fire protection can be active or passive. When a building is under construction, the contractor and architect can incorporate passive fire protection, such as fire doors and fire escapes. Passive fire protection may also refer to the use of non-flammable materials during construction. By contrast, active fire protection means using a system that reacts in case of a fire. Examples of active fire protection include sprinkler systems and special hazard fire suppression systems.

Active vs. Non-Electric Detection

Deciding whether to use active or non-electric fire detection is also pivotal. Non-electric fire detection does not require electricity. If you lose power, you have the security that your fire protection system will work in case of a fire.  

You will also want to think about the system offering and any services that come with it. Will the system give you around the clock detection? Does it notify authorities once triggered? What are the recommendations for ongoing inspection or testing of the equipment?

Fire protection systems play an important role in keeping building occupants, assets, and the building safe. If you are looking to protect critical equipment or machines, a fire suppression system may be your best option.  

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