Effective fire suppression saves lives and preserves property. It slows down the spread of fire in order to contain it. This has obvious benefits for evacuation plans and the preservation of material assets. Commonly used in commercial buildings, sprinklers are now a recommended safety system for tower blocks, industrial premises, care homes and municipal facilities.
Fire and rescue services in the UK are advocating the use of sprinklers, saying they save lives. The systems are also a recognised benefit for businesses – with many impacted by fire never fully recovering. This morning, it has been reported that a family business in Scotland has been devastated by a fire caused by an electrical fault. Up to £20,000 worth of stock has been reportedly damaged. A significant proportion of the premises sustained smoke damage.
In this case, there was no obligation on the business owner to have sprinklers installed. However, some types of businesses are required to follow strict health and safety guidelines to reduce the risks. The Yorkshire Post has reported today that a chemical company has been fined £14,000 following a blaze. In 2016, a warehouse owned by the business was destroyed. The blaze broke out after an employee accidentally dropped a can of highly flammable liquid.
It is widely accepted that modern fire-fighting equipment limits damage. In turn, it minimises disruption to business premises and protects jobs. So, if you are looking for a fire suppression system that works automatically, sprinklers are the best option. Traditional equipment has included simple fire extinguishers.
Maintaining a constant water supply
While a sprinkler system can run off mains water, this is not recommended for large properties or those constructed on multiple levels. In addition to issues with water pressure, there is a need to ensure enough water is instantly available to douse the seat of a blaze for robust fire suppression. Because of this, a sprinkler tank is recommended.
Also known as a fire tank, the storage container ensures water is always available – in the right quantity – around the clock. It means a building is protected day and night and even when it is not occupied. This type of water tank is only installed by specialists. Cost-effective, a sprinkler tank can last for many, many years if properly maintained.
During the tank’s lifetime, it will require regular inspections. Independent checks are recommended. An expert will carry out a thorough examination of the tank’s walls and components using underwater survey equipment. This is often referred to as an ROV inspection.
As the tank ages, it may require remedial works. This can include refurbishment or lining. A professional inspection will set out the recommended options.
Fire suppression, tower blocks and causes of fires
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, pressure was put on social housing providers to retro-fit sprinkler systems. While many have benefitted from the safety equipment, others are still waiting. The stumbling block has proved to be the initial outlay. A council in London recently lost a bid to force leaseholders in its tower blocks to pay for the work. It has wanted payment from those in building of 10 storeys or more. It has been reported that, had a court ruling been in favour of the council, the work would have been carried out and leaseholders made to pay through service charges.
Elsewhere, a fire and rescue authority recently gave £200,000 towards one tower block project from its Safer Stronger Communities Reserve Fund. With fire authorities championing the use of sprinklers, the message is clear: they save lives and protect property. Experts say they often extinguish a fire completely. In many cases, a blaze is already out or under control by the time the emergency services arrive on the scene.
Usually, it is the responsibility of the property owner or landlord to ensure fire suppression systems are fit for purpose.
You can never tell how a fire will start. Earlier this week, two people handed themselves into police after sky lanterns fell into a German zoo and killed dozens of animals. The lanterns in question were illegal and are said to have burned animals alive. Meanwhile, a former Holiday Inn at Walsall has been demolished after being devastated by a fire that started in a sauna last summer. West Midlands Fire Service has confirmed no sprinklers were installed. A review is to examine how the fire was able to engulf the entire hotel.
Protecting your building from fire
If you are concerned about safety and want to invest in the best fire suppression system, choose sprinklers. As well as offering a long-term solution, they can be fitted in any type of building. Compared to the cost of fire damage, they are economical. Option for a system with its own water supply. You can find out more about the benefits of sprinkler tanks from a specialist. He or she will talk you through the basics and a good contractor will offer to carry out a free site survey.
Having a sound fire safety system in place significantly reduces the risk of death. It will also minimise the chances of injuries and keep damage to a minimum. Modern fire suppression systems are all about containing fire.
If you want to find out more about sprinkler systems and fire tanks, contact an expert today. Don’t wait for disaster to strike. You may not have a property left to protect.
As dozens of fires burn out of control across Australia, the sheer devastation that can be caused is being realised by property owners around the world. The unpredictability of fire, coupled with the difficulty in tacking serious fires, seems to have struck a chord. In places like the UK, where wild fires on this scale just don’t happen, people have been quick to recognise the very real danger that fire poses.
Whether you run a business, are a landlord or simply want to better protect your assets, invest in a sprinkler system and fire tank. You will put your mind at rest, may benefit from reduced insurance premiums and give people confidence in the safety of your building.