Choosing a fire alarm system for your business doesn’t have to be a complex affair. There are several factors that you can consider to streamline the selection process.
In this post, we lay out six of these pivotal steps that will allow you to choose the right fire alarm system quickly.
1. Establish your fire safety needs
The first step in selecting an appropriate fire alarm system for your business is determining what your fire safety needs are.
This involves taking a look at the type of building you have, considering the number of people working within the premise, as well as taking into account provincial fire codes and regulations.
For example, a manufacturing warehouse dealing with flammable substances will require a completely different set of fire alarm systems for a hospital.
2. Consider the type of hazards present
Next, you will want to identify the types of hazards present within your building. Knowing this will assist you in determining just how many fire alarm systems you need as well as the placement of smoke detectors and other sensors.
You will want to find:
- Sources of ignition
- Sources of fuel
- Source of oxygen
Sources of ignition include all heating components that could heat up to such a degree that they start a fire. Think of
- Cooking elements like stove tops, microwaves, ovens
- Hot surfaces – especially if you run a manufacturing business
- Electrical, gas and oil-reliant heaters
- Gas or liquid-propelled open-flame equipment
- Matches, lighters, and cigarettes
For sources of fuel, you’re seeking items in the building that could burn easily if ignited. This material would provide the fuel to encourage a blaze. Consider
- Common flammable materials such as cardboard and paper
- Combustible liquids like propane, acetic acid, kerosene, engine oil, diesel fuel
- Waste material from the office or industrial processes
- Fabrics and soft furnishings
Sources of oxygen aren’t difficult to identify. The major oxygen source is of course air. However, if you store oxygen onsite in cylinders or piped systems this can present a very grave fire hazard. Welding businesses and hospitals are the biggest storers of compressed oxygen and therefore appropriate fire alarm systems must be installed in such places.
3. Research and compare alarm systems
What’s in the market in terms of alarm systems and smoke detectors? It’s hard to settle on a brand if you’re not sure what else is available to you.
That’s why doing a great deal of research is important. Careful planning and strategizing ensure that you get the best possible alarm systems at cost-effective prices.
There are two main types of fire alarm systems in the market today: addressable fire alarm systems and conventional fire alarm systems.
Between the two, addressable systems are more advanced, and able to quickly detect any changes in the atmosphere as well as pinpoint the exact location of trouble should it arise.
Conventional fire alarm systems are analogous, much simpler and make use of predetermined zones to activate alarms.
Once you have narrowed down your list to at least three choices, compare each of the different aspects of the fire alarm systems and their features. You want a set-up that will meet your needs based on the type of building you have and its occupancy level.
What should you be looking for?
- The fire system’s reliability
- The fire system’s ease of use
- The fire system’s price
4. Select a system suitable for your building
Now that you’ve got a top three to choose from, how do you pick the one you should install?
Ideally, you go with the fire alarm system that’s appropriate for the size and layout of your building.
The fire alarm system you choose must also be compliant with Ontario’s provincial building and fire codes and your insurance requirements.
You want to keep in mind that you should probably opt for a system that can be easily expanded when necessary.
Consulting with a fire protection expert like Nutech Fire Prevention can go a long way in ensuring that your preferred system satisfies all these requirements.
5. Choose a skilled installation company
With your fire alarm system and smoke detectors picked out, it’s time to consider the installation process.
You’re going to want a fire company that can demonstrate experience installing fire alarm systems, especially in buildings such as yours.
A great way to find such companies is to call up local businesses and ask for referrals for the companies that installed their fire alarm systems.
Alternatively, you can do research online, call up each company and speak to their agent to see if they are the right match for your needs.
6. Fire system installation and maintenance
Lastly, you will want to think about the cost and future maintenance requirements of your chosen system. Will you have the necessary technical support if the system develops a fault?
Choosing a trusted and reputable supplier will ensure that your fire alarm system and smoke detectors are properly installed and maintained.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right fire alarm system is a skill because you must consider so many factors. For example, a restaurant may require a comprehensive fire suppression system, while an office complex may need a less robust detection and alarm system.
By following these six steps, you can make sure that you’ve chosen a fire alarm system that will provide reliable protection for your business and help keep your customers and employees safe.
For businesses in Hamilton, Ontario needing assistance in selecting an appropriate fire alarm system, our specialists are here to help. Look no further than Nutech Fire Prevention.
In addition, we also provide, install and maintain emergency backup generators, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, exit lighting, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services, and design fire safety plans for businesses and residents of Hamilton.
Request a free quote today.
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