All buildings and homes should have fire safety equipment installed for protection against the outbreak of a blaze. When a fire breaks out it can spread quickly, but this can usually be avoided if the fire safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, are on hand and properly installed.
Costly mistakes can be made during the installation process, hence why it’s always better to be performed by a certified fire protection specialist. This article looks at some common mistakes to avoid when installing fire safety equipment.
#1 – Failure to Follow Fire Safety Codes
Australia has specific codes and regulations that govern the installation of fire protection equipment. These codes are in place for the safety of the residents and the protection of the building. They have been designed to be the most effective way of installing equipment to prevent a catastrophe.
A qualified fire protection specialist should know those codes and install equipment in compliance with them, but this is not always the case. Some companies may try to cut corners, save money, or simply do not pay close enough attention to what’s required.
Failure to comply with fire safety codes is not only dangerous, it could also lead to a fine for the owner, the governing body of a building, or the installation company.
#2 – Installing Equipment behind Obstacles
Whether it be a fire extinguisher, fire hose or some other piece of fire protection equipment, it should never be placed behind obstacles. One fairly common mistake is positioning this equipment in areas that are not easily accessible.
In an emergency, every second counts. If someone has to struggle just to get to a fire extinguisher, those precious seconds that are lost could be the difference between getting a spot fire under control or it culminating in a blaze.
#3 – Lack of Emergency Exit Lights
In a hotel or high rise building, if a fire breaks out in the dead of night and it’s hard to see, without proper emergency exit light installation indicating where the fire escapes are, confused residents will get lost in the dark and the smoke haze, which will likely end in tragedy.
When emergency exit lighting is installed it should be positioned so it’s clearly visible. The lights should also be tested after installation to ensure they’re working and regularly checked at intervals to maintain their integrity.
#4 – Fire Sprinklers Installed Too Close To the Ceiling
For sprinklers to be effective there needs to be some space between them and the ceiling, or the water won’t jettison in the correct fashion to readily douse the flames.
Fire protection sprinklers have been designed to eject water in a pattern that’s most effective at putting out a fire in rapid time before it can spread. That pattern is compromised when sprinklers are placed too close to the ceiling or installed incorrectly.
It’s vital that the company doing the installation follows the correct guidelines for sprinkler installation or the system will be inefficient and ineffective.
#5 – A Lack of Fire Extinguishers
Experienced and qualified fire extinguisher installation companies should know just how many fire extinguishers are required within a building of a certain size and where they should be placed. A lack of fire extinguishers could prove catastrophic in the event that a blaze breaks out.
Correct installation of fire extinguishers in buildings will ensure optimum safety, but if the owner or company that does the installation tries to cut corners to lower costs, it spells danger in the event of a fire.
#6 – Failing To Hire the Right Fire Protection Installation Company
While every installation company should follow all the appropriate rules and regulations that govern fire safety, not all fire protection companies are created equal. You want to do your research first before hiring a company to handle your fire protection, to determine if they have a positive reputation.
Hiring the wrong company could not only lead to your building or home not being compliant, ultimately it could end in disaster. It’s well worth the effort to take your time choosing the right company for the job.
While most of the time the installation company will get things right, it’s important to know what pitfalls to look out for to ensure a building is compliant with fire safety codes and the protection of the occupants is ensured.
Ken Thomas is the director at Total Fire Solutions, fire safety training providers and one of the top 3 independent fire system distributors for the Asia Pacific region. His vision is to create a ‘one stop shop’ fire protection company committed to NSW mining and heavy industry. He is passionate for and excited by the latest developments in fire protection technology.