Your building’s fire safety equipment is one of the most critical systems for protecting property and lives. Everything ages and degrades over time, and new technologies can make older equipment obsolete. However, when something has served you well for years, you may be hesitant to replace it.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”
Like many others, you’ve probably learned this lesson countless times during life when some well-intentioned preventative maintenance or optimistic upgrade went astray, and you wish you had let sleeping dogs lie. Unfortunately, this sort of thinking can be dangerous when it comes to fire safety since there are several good reasons to upgrade a system that seems to be serving its purpose.
Does Age Affect Fire Safety Equipment?
Yes, all sorts of fire safety equipment deteriorate over time. Whether it’s fire alarm devices, active fire suppression, or passive fire protection, they get old and need replacing and upgrading. For example, suggested replacement dates for various components include:
- Fire control panel. The Ontario Fire Code mandates that fire alarms undergo a thorough inspection every year, and if you start noticing problems after 10 years, it might be time for an upgrade. You should certainly replace and upgrade any system older than 20 years.
- Smoke detectors. NFPA recommends replacing and upgrading them every 10 years.
- Fire extinguishers. Any dry chemical extinguisher manufactured prior to 1984 shall be removed from service, extinguishers must be inspected annually and serviced at regular intervals, in accordance with NFPA Standards.
- Passive fire protection. Fire doors, partitions, dampers, and walls endure much use, and upgrades are possible.
Has the Building Layout Changed?
As your business evolves, the layout of both the office area or warehouse may change. When this occurs, you need to revisit your fire safety plan and start thinking about relocating or upgrading your fire safety equipment. Sometimes, it might be as simple as a quantitative upgrade in the number of horn strobes or heat detectors. Perhaps you need to add another fire extinguisher, or by repurposing a building section, you may need to upgrade your firewalls.
Has the Fire Code Changed?
While the basics of fire safety remain stable, the Ontario Fire Code does occasionally change. Even subtle changes may affect your building’s compliance to code and require you to upgrade your system.
Have You Added on to the Building?
If you add a new elevator, wing, or floor to the building, you have to reconsider your entire fire safety system. During additions, upgrades to your fire alarm and passive protection are routine.
Is Your System Having Trouble?
If your fire safety equipment starts requiring a lot of maintenance, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Components fail over time, and service calls can become expensive as well as disrupt the workplace. If your fire safety equipment needs frequent service, consider investing in an upgrade. It will save money over the long term and deliver superior performance and functionality.
Can Fire Safety Upgrades Lower Your Insurance Bill?
Only your insurance agent can say for sure, so you need to check with him. However, it’s a fact that insurance companies reward investments that lower risk, and investing in the latest fire safety equipment is an excellent way to protect lives and property. You may be eligible for premium discounts while maintaining your coverage.
Usually, owners and administrators have their hands full with day to day responsibilities of running their businesses. If you feel unsure about whether or not to upgrade your fire safety equipment, it’s always a good idea to consult the experts.
All Protect Systems Inc. has been servicing and upgrading fire safety equipment since 1996. They stay abreast of the latest technologies and code changes so that you can focus on your specialty. Call them today to find out what they can do for you!