Protecting Your Business from Fire

Fire Protection SystemsWith the reports last weekend of fires that have destroyed two high profile venues, Gower College’s Tycoch Campus in Swansea and the iconic Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, the team at CCTV Wales cannot stress enough the importance of protecting your business from the risk of fire.  But where do you start?

We’ve come up with guidelines for businesses who already have a fire protection system in place as well as those who don’t to help you to ensure your building is a safe as possible.

Fire Protection System Design

Normally before a fire protection system is designed you should firstly conduct a comprehensive fire risk assessment.

As a business owner you can carry out fire risk assessments yourself.  There are downloads on the internet which you can download if you do want to do it yourself.  If you don’t have time or the confidence or experience to do it yourself, then you can ask an experienced and qualified fire protection company to carry out a fire risk assessment and offer you the best advice.

You should ensure that the surveyor carrying out the risk assessment comes from an accredited organisation like CCTV Wales who are accredited by BAFE and also the NSI Fire so they have a responsibility to offer the most effective and appropriate system to suit a specific business’s needs.

This fire risk assessment will let you know what needs to be protected and so what should be recommended.  A fire protection system can then be designed to suit those recommendation as there are a number of different types of system available.

You could be a category L1 for example which covers absolutely everything or L2, L3 or L4. Based on the business needs and the environment that the business is operating in will depend on what category or system design is provided by the surveyor.

So if it’s a system whereby you only need a manual system or call box on the wall, that’s what the fire protection company should offer.  If you need something more substantial such as multiple detectors in different rooms again that’s what you should be offered.  At the end of the day it is the responsibility of the surveyor to offer the best system, not only for the customer but to ensure that it’s safe for the people working in that environment.

Types of Fire Alarm Systems

The different types of fire alarms ranging from manual systems through to automatic fire detection equipment.

Dan Hardman, Operations Manager at CCTV Wales explains more about the types off fire alarm systems available in this video:

Other Fire Protection Measures

You should appoint a person on site responsible for all matters dealing with fire protection, for larger organisation this will normally be the fire officer who will have an understanding of what is required with regards to the fire system.  In terms of the maintenance provided by an external company, this should be carried out by a competent fire engineer who has undergone training via the fire industry authority.  That will enable them to ensure that they are testing the system correctly and be able offer advice to the responsible people on site. So this is the person that the fire officer on site should be able to contact if they have any questions.

All fire alarm systems should be checked on a weekly basis either by setting off a call point or setting off the sounders, making sure that the system is tested by a competent person.  Then depending on the size of the system, a full service should be once a year to four times a year. This again depends on the size and the complexity of the system.

When a fire system test is carried out, artificial smoke is produced which activates the detector and sets off the fire alarm.  Similarly, the heat detector will be set off which will also set off the fire alarm.  So over a period of 12 months each detector will be tested to make sure it is full working order.   It is also important to carry out regular fire evacuations on a planned basis.

Most fire detection systems are set to deal with false activations. This also comes down to planning.  For example, you wouldn’t put a smoke detector in a kitchen where staff are regularly making toast; instead you would install a heat detector as it’s important to have the right detector in the right areas to eliminate any false activations.

The Importance of Fire Extinguisher Selection

Every business is required to fit fire extinguishers.  If you don’t have any in place, then you should seek advice from a fire protection company on what types of extinguishers are required for certain areas.  For example, if you have a workshop where you do a lot of electrical repairs it’s important to have the right extinguisher in there; if you have a warehouse with a lot of cardboard then it’s also important to have the right extinguisher in those areas.

Maintenance of fire extinguishers should be carried out every 12 months. However, during the year it’s important to ensure that the pressure gauge on the extinguisher is in the green and that this is correct.  And if the pin is pulled out or there are any signs of tampering it’s important to get it checked or if you’re not sure to ask an expert to come and check it out for you.

These are just some of the key measures that businesses can take in order to protect their business from the risk of fire.  To find out more about the fire protection services offered by CCTV Wales, call us on the number below or visit our fire alarm systems web page:

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