A number of hazards may threaten a building today. Those located near a fault line may be rattled or even collapse due to an earthquake, such as those near California’s San Andreas Fault. For buildings in Florida, meanwhile, hurricanes are a seasonal threat that may damage structures with flooding and strong winds. But no matter where a building may be located, fire is always a possibility, and different types of fire protection services may be employed to fight them. One particular fire protection service may be a fire alarm, and fire alarm repair or fire alarm system installation may be done when contractors are hired for this work. Commercial buildings such as hotels, office towers, hospitals, and more will have ample need for fire alarm inspections and repair, and fire alarm inspections should be done regularly to make sure that all hardware is up to standard. Without fire alarm inspections, a building may become a dangerous place for a fire to start.
Fires in the United States
Some particular building types such as hotels and apartments, hospitals, office towers, and warehouses are the most susceptible to fires today. Although lit tobacco is no longer allowed in most public buildings, fire may start due to a number of other incidents. An exposed and frayed electrical wire, for example, may set drapes, carpets, or papers on fire when the hot exposed wire touches these surfaces. Or, a person may misuse or drop lit matches or lighters, and this too may cause an accidental fire. And in hospitals, some electrical components have been known to spit sparks when they are malfunctioning and set items on fire. Every year, hotel and motel fires in the United States cause some 15 fatalities and 150 injuries per year, but on the positive side, warehouse fires are declining. In the year 1980, roughly 4,700 warehouse fires took place, but by the year 2011, only 1,200 or so occurred. And in all of these building types and more, fire alarm inspections and repair can keep everyone ready to evacuate if a fire starts.
Fire Alarms and Their Work
Among all fire protection services, fire alarms are tasked with alerting all occupants in a building of a fire and urging them to evacuate right away. When a fire starts in a building, the flames may start small but may spread out of control. In a matter of minutes, the fire may become large enough, and spread far enough, so that it may block a person’s access to evacuation routes and put them in serious danger. To prevent this, everyone must be alerted to a fire right away so that they can escape before the situation becomes worse. And not only are the flames a major hazard, but the smoke can damage a person’s lungs, and flames will consume a lot of the building’s oxygen in the air. Many fire injuries and fatalities are due to lung issues rather than burns.
Fire alarms on a building’s walls will have smoke detectors in them, and if one of them detects smoke, it will send a signal to all others in the building so that they all activate in unison. These alarms will be distributed throughout the building so that any person may hear them, no matter where they are. Poor fire alarm design could lead to a person not hearing the alarms in certain areas, and this can be very dangerous. Therefore, these alarms will make a loud, distinctive sound that can be heard anywhere in the building, alerting occupants to the need to evacuate. For the benefit of the deaf, these alarms also have bright flashing lights on them while active.
A building manager should have fire alarm inspections done regularly to ensure that all fire alarms are functional, and faulty alarms can be removed and replaced when contractors are hired. And if an entrepreneur purchases an older building, a lot of that building’s hardware should be inspected before use. This certainly includes fire alarms, and the building’s current alarms may be non-functional. That, or the building will simply not have enough of them, or they may be outdated models that lack certain features such as flashing lights for the deaf and hard of hearing to see.