Fire safety is an important consideration in the management and design of a building, but it is often overlooked. Buildings should be constructed to provide an acceptable level of fire safety from the basement to the rooftop. According to the Red Cross, once a fire starts within your residence or building, you may only have 2 minutes to escape from a fire. Do you have the right safety features inside the building? Do you need to install fire-rated doors?
Fires can be so unpredictable. A small flame can quickly turn into a massive fire and engulf entire buildings within minutes, causing the loss of life and millions of dollars in property damage. In commercial buildings, fires can cause the loss of valuable business documents and assets, disrupt business activities, and lose employee work hours. Aside from footing the reconstruction cost, businesses may also face liability claims if the fire spreads to adjacent properties, which can be very costly.
Fire Safety Tips
A fire safety program is an effective way to prevent or reduce fire incidents. There are simple ways, such as regularly performed housekeeping, to keep your areas free from fire hazards. In commercial and residential properties, fire-safe furniture and equipment are used along with other tools such as fire and smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and hoses to help gain precious minutes in an emergency.
Most commercial buildings provide a smoking area in an outdoor vicinity to control smoking materials and open flames. In factories and kitchens, flammable and combustible substances are stored safely to prevent individuals from tampering with them. In hospitals and labs, special protocols and procedures are set in place to control special fire hazards. Educational programs and fire emergency drills can be implemented to increase awareness of fire safety. Employees and residents can be taught to identify and follow evacuation routes and learn proper fire extinguishing techniques at home and work.
Fire Rated Doors
If you want to upgrade the safety in your building, you may want to include fire-rated doors. Do not underestimate the vital role of a fire-rated steel door in minimizing property damage and keeping residents safer in the event of a fire. Fire-rated doors can be characterized by having properties that control the spread of fire and smoke. A fire rated door is marked with a special label and can withstand fire, smoke, and radiant heat for up to three hours which could greatly increase the chances of survival and reduce the rapid spread of the fire.
There are fire rated glass, steel, and wood options depending on the durability and purpose. The components such as the door, frame, glazing, and hardware are subjected to separate testing to ensure that the materials pass the fire endurance test, hose stream test, and radiant heat test. If you plan to purchase fire-rated doors, you should verify that all the materials used have been tested, are compliant with approved safety standards, and the whole door has received a fire-resistance rating.
With such little time to think during a fire, prevention through the installation of fire-rated doors and other safety features could mean life or death. There are simple, effective ways to perform proper maintenance and care for your buildings and residences. Choose to be proactive before the fire happens and observe the good practices of a fire prevention program. Prevent and be prepared for a fire.