Facility and Risk Management Tips

Facility and Risk Management Tips presented by www.solidrockfacilitymanagers.com 

Considerations On Your Commercial Fire Detection Technology

Whether creating a fire safety plan for the first time or revisiting it after a few years, here are some important factors to keep in mind when choosing a fire detection system.
While the average person may consider fire alarms to be relatively straightforward or limited in scope, commercial real estate (CRE) owners, facility executives, and life safety contractors know there’s more to fire detection systems than meets the eye. This is especially true as continued innovation in fire safety solutions has led to a growing number of vendors, features and advanced capabilities on the market.
Today’s facility managers need to understand how to vet fire detection technology based on their unique needs as part of a well-crafted fire safety plan. After all, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to protect occupants and spaces from fires or other environmental hazards like carbon monoxide, especially in the commercial sector. Whether creating a fire safety plan for the first time or revisiting it after a few years, here are three important factors to keep in mind.
There’s no one-size-fits-all to fire detection; each solution must be applicable to a building’s size and unique needs. 
Building Details
The type of building, as well as its size and layout, matters when deciding on a fire detection system. For example, hospitals, schools and office buildings will all need to approach fire safety slightly differently based on their occupant demographics and how the space is being used. Managers need to account for how compact or sprawling their facility is, how many rooms or stories there are, and any unique fire risks posed by the building’s function or structure.
Since smaller properties have less square footage to protect, facility managers may opt for conventional fire detection solutions, with control units that show which region or “zone” in the building a fire alarm activates within so they can respond quickly. On the other hand, medium to large facilities typically require addressable control units that provide more precise insights — pinpointing the exact device that’s activated, versus the general region. All of the devices in an addressable system are interconnected and can interact with each other and the supervising station location.
Features And Applications
Commercial properties need fire detection systems that are reliable, scalable, and include the latest and greatest features. On a very basic level, conventional and addressable control units will have a notification appliance circuit (NAC) that uses strobe lights, horns, speakers or other appliances to alert occupants in the event of a fire. There should also be a Transmitter, which serves the purpose of alerting monitoring stations and, by extension, dispatchers or first responders  when a fire alarm system is activated. Most systems will also support annunciators, visual display units separate from the main control unit, that help facility managers and occupants quickly see the building’s fire safety status and, if authorized, interact with the system.
Training And Ease Of Use
Additionally, it’s essential to consider how easy the fire detection system will be to install, use, and maintain. Many systems that offer advanced functionality are also complicated to implement, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Facility managers or contractors should seek systems that provide exceptional quality while still being simple to use. They need to evaluate how technicians will learn their way around the system and how much it will cost to train them. 
There’s a lot riding on selecting the right fire detection and notification system. Not only does the technology need to offer comprehensive coverage of every nook and cranny of their space, but it also needs to have the appropriate features to alert occupants, monitor status of fires, and accurately locate the fire so managers can respond quickly. Finally, the system needs to have advanced functionality and customizability, while still being intuitive for contractors and technicians to program and maintain. By vetting fire alarms  and their sister technology, fire suppression systems using these criteria, facility managers can be highly confident in their fire prevention plan.
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