Need A Fire & Life Safety System In Your Industrial Facility? Here's Who To Hire

From 2006 to 2010, the National Fire Prevention Association estimates there were 42,800 fires each year in industrial and manufacturing facilities. For those owning, managing or working in these types of facilities, fire and life safety systems are important.

A fire and life safety system is more than simply a smoke detector and sprinkler system. It encompasses all the mechanical functions of a building (such as elevators, electrical systems, and HVAC units) and controls them when a fire is detected to reduce the risks of property damage and the loss of life.

If you own or manage an industrial or manufacturing facility, you may want to improve your fire and life safety system. Here's what you need to know.

Designed by a fire detection engineer

A fire detection engineer designs these important property and life saving systems. To do this, he or she first needs to inspect and measure the building. You'll need to give him or her full access to your facility. During inspection, some of the things an engineer looks for include:

  • if the building materials and interior finishes are flammable
  • if the exit stairwells are located close to emergency exits

After the inspection, the fire detection engineer draws up a blueprint to show where fire sprinklers and fire-safe conduits must be placed within the building.

Installed by a commercial electrician

The necessary upgrade for the fire and life safety system involves the automation process, which is controlled by a programmable logic controller. This system should be installed in a fire-safe room. A separate network of electrical wiring will need to be installed in fire-safe conduits.

Fire-safe conduits will contain the electrical wiring and IT cabling that are necessary to control the fire and life safety system. The blueprint will also include the installation of ventilation systems that may be necessary to control smoke so occupants are able to escape. Fire-safe conduits are the most important part of this system.

In the event of a fire, the entire non-essential network of electrical wiring can be automatically disabled at the circuit breaker panel while a separate, essential electrical wiring network is turned on. This separate network, located in fire-safe conduits, will control all the components of the system.

The actual installation of the necessary components of the system will be done by an electrician. However, additional contractors may be needed to upgrade the plumbing and/or HVAC systems. Most, if not all, of the utilities and mechanical components should already be in place in your facility.

Inspected by the fire code enforcement offices

After the installation and upgrades are completed, the fire code enforcement offices will need to inspect the system. Depending on your area, this may mean you'll need to have several separate entities inspect your facility, including your municipality, the state, and the federal government.

Again, depending on the laws of your area, you may be given fines for any violations. However, it's typical for agencies to allow for a re-inspection after repairs or changes are made. Be sure to read the inspection report thoroughly.

Maintained by a commercial electrician

After your facility passes inspection, you'll need to make sure it continues to be in good operating condition by having regular maintenance done on all the components and mechanical parts of the system. It's a good idea to have the same commercial electrician who installed the system perform the maintenance.

The frequency of the maintenance will depend largely on the size of your building and whether or not you have additional components, such as elevators and stairwell ventilation systems. These factors are considered in the maintenance guidelines given by the code enforcement offices.

For more information, contact local commercial electricians or fire safety companies.