Critical Factors Affecting Fire Equipment Choice

6 April 2021
 Categories: , Blog

One critical task that a commercial facility manager must never overlook is safety. The safety of every person in a building at any particular time is their responsibility. Therefore, investing in fire equipment is imperative. In fact, it is a legal requirement that commercial facilities install fire-fighting equipment. That said, fire equipment varies; thus, you cannot just walk into a store and buy whatever equipment you think is right for your needs. You must make a few considerations as highlighted in this article.

Types of Fire 

Fires can be classified into different classes based on fueling agent: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, Class F. Class A fires are fueled by solid materials like wood, cloth and paper, while Class C involves fires started by gases. Due to the fire varieties, you must choose the right fire equipment. If you use the wrong fire equipment, you might worsen a situation and put occupants at risk. For example, Class E fires involve electrical sources; therefore, using water will only make a bad situation more dangerous. A building surveyor should audit the likelihood of the different types of fires occurring in a facility. A fire expert then looks at a surveyor's audit report and advises on the right fire equipment to buy. For instance, common fires in commercial kitchens fall under Class C, B and F. Therefore, you should purchase carbon dioxide and powder fire extinguishers.

Facility Size 

The size of your facility also influences the type of fire equipment you buy. For example, a warehouse holding dry grains can be challenging to keep safe with Class A fire extinguishers. The reason is that the fire will spread fast, overwhelming the fire wardens with Class A fire extinguishers. Overhead sprinklers would be more effective in such a warehouse. A sprinkler system acts quickly because it pours water over a large area immediately after a fire is detected. However, Class A fire extinguishers are ideal for small rooms.

Occupant Capabilities 

The capabilities of inhabitants or tenants influence the purchase of fire equipment. For instance, ask yourself if they can operate a fire extinguisher with ease. It is critical because fighting a fire successfully hinges on the capacity of occupants. You cannot hang a 50kg fire extinguisher in a typical office and hope that staff will manage to carry it to a fire source. Similarly, you cannot install an automatic fire extinguisher in a residential apartment building because few tenants know how to operate it. It means that you must conduct an audit of your facility to determine occupants' ability to use different fire equipment.