Ensuring a safe and secure premises is essential, whether we talk about office premises or a residential complex. One part of this is security against fire hazards. The law lays down certain essential requirements for all buildings. These are clearly specified in National Building Code. It specifies fire zones, restrictions on building in fire zones, types of buildings as per occupancy and construction and the necessity of minimising dangers from fire.
The code was carefully formulated to ensure that a minimum standard of safety was followed in all constructions. While the code compels us to do this legally, we have a moral, ethical and financial responsibility to see that all buildings follow fire safety rules and have adequate fire fighting safety equipments.
People who should adopt such measures are:
— Business/factory owners
— Property owners
— Residential societies
— Committees that run civic or government buildings
— Management of large-scale businesses or properties
In short, anyone who deals with a large-scale property, people or assets must ensure that a comprehensive system of fire safety is in place. Here, we are talking about more than a token fire extinguisher.
The purpose of a comprehensive fire safety system is:
— Containing a fire and extinguishing it as soon as possible
— Minimising loss to property, such as damage to a building
— Minimising loss of life
— Minimising loss to assets, such as machinery, stock etc
— Avoiding heavy financial losses
— Compliance with fire safety codes
— Avoidance of penalty or imprisonment arising out of negligence
So, the purpose in instituting a comprehensive are for multiple reason. The loss of property or assets will mean a direct financial loss. Since fire can be devastating and spread alarmingly quickly, it can destroy an entire business in a matter of seconds. However, even more important than that is the safeguarding of human life. Failure to do so can actually land one in jail, since the law is clear about intended and untended criminal negligence.
Factors to consider when getting fire fighting equipments:
Given their extreme importance, there are some factors that must be considered before we install a fire fighting safety equipments:
Size of the premises: This is a very important criteria when designing a fire safety system in a building. For small spaces like an apartment, an extinguisher is often adequate. But a bigger building will need a more detailed set-up and a comprehensive back-up system. Big buildings must have a fire alarm as well as a sprinkler system.
Since both of these systems often work automatically, these ensure that action is taken swiftly and effectively. In a big building, help met not reach all corners quickly and in such cases a comprehensive and automatic system becomes vital in ensuring swift action.
People on premises: Since, fire can spread quickly and wreck devastation, adequate steps have to be taken to ensure that no lives are lost. This means that we have to consider the people on premises. Fire exits must be clearly marked and fire doors installed on all floors.
Some tall buildings are also required to have adequate space for people to collect in an open space. Crowded spaces must have additional support such as fire extinguishers. This can go a long way in spreading panic that is often as dangerous as the fire itself.
Regular upkeep: All fire fighting safety equipment needs regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure that these are always in top condition. Any failure during an emergency is fatal and can make you liable for negligence. This is why many people go with a single vendor who also offers maintenance services. Alternatively, one can source equipment from different vendors and contact maintenance specialists to carry out building-wide maintenance.
Training of in-house fire personnel: It is critical that there are some people who are trained to respond in a fire emergency. Ideally, everyone should know the basics on how to use an extinguisher or vacate the building in a orderly fashion. Regular drills can take care of that. But besides that, we also need the backup of trained people who can start emergency protocols, such as calling for emergency services, starting fire safety equipments and making sure that the premises are vacated in a calm and orderly fashion.
It is imperative that we make sure that all our public, commercial and residential spaces have adequate safety against fire. Fire fighting safety equipments ensures that in case it does breakout, a fire is contained and put off swiftly and efficiently.