FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FIRE SAFETY & PROTECTION
As you research fire protection options, you probably have several questions about what your building requires. These fire safety and protection FAQs answer some common questions we receive here at Unifour Fire & Safety.
For all of your fire safety and protection needs in the Southeast, trust the experts at Unifour Fire & Safety. We will take care of your home or business! Just give us a call at 866-511-5540 or contact us online today!
What Are Common Causes of Fires?
The most common causes of commercial fires are cooking equipment, heating equipment, electrical and lighting equipment, smoking materials, and intentional fires. By knowing what may cause a commercial fire, your business can take proper precautions to prevent damage to your property.
How Many Fire Extinguishers Are Required on a Business Premise?
The ultimate answer to “how many fire extinguishers does my building need” is: It depends.
Factors that determine the fire extinguisher requirements include:
- Size and layout of the room: a basic National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) rule is that there should be no more than 75 feet between fire extinguishers and that they should be accessible. Naturally, then, the square footage contained in a building and its layout will determine the number needed.
- Fire hazard level of the building: public buildings are evaluated and assigned a fire hazard level based on their purpose and what they contain: light fire hazard, ordinary fire hazard, extra fire hazard, and commercial kitchens.
- Presence of flammable liquids: according to Occupational Safety & Health Association (OSHA) standards, if flammable liquids or gas are stored in quantities of 5 or more gallons, there must be a fire extinguisher of at least a 10B rating kept within 50 feet of the container.
- Stairwells: in multistory structures, a minimum of one fire extinguisher must be placed adjacent to the stairway.
Why Is a Fire Alarm System Important?
Fire alarms are important because they can give you an early signal to something that could be tragic – basically saving you and your family. A fire alarm is able to alert you, even when you’re busy, working, or sleeping. Therefore, you can take action before major damage takes place, saving you the cost of property loss. More than half of house fires take place in homes that do not have fire alarms, and mostly at night, resulting in a high number of deaths.
An early detection from a fire alarm system can get you out of a situation that would potentially turn into a tragedy.
If you’re interested in installing a fire alarm system in your home, contact Unifour Fire & Safety in the Southeast for fire alarm services. Contact us online or give us a call at 866-511-5540 for more information.
What Are Emergency Lighting Requirements?
Emergency lighting is required for all means of egress, including both the exits and the pathways leading to them. This includes stairs designated for emergency exit as well as the aisles, corridors, ramps, escalators and other passageways that lead to an exit. This requirement also extends to exit discharge points, which include stairs, ramps, aisles, walkways, and escalators leading to an area open to the public.
The OSHA code requires that emergency lighting be provided automatically in the event of a power failure resulting from power outages, blown fuses or circuit breakers, or manual acts that result in an interruption in normal lighting.
Do I Need Both a Fire Alarm and Fire Sprinklers?
It’s easy to think that with so many components in a fire protection system, some redundancy might allow you to skip a feature or two. However, a fire alarm and fire sprinklers are both vital pieces of fire protection equipment.
The function of a fire alarm is to spread the word about a fire. It features smoke detectors to sense fire, pull stations for watchful people to set off the alarm, and strobe lights and horns to alert everyone in the building that they must evacuate. A monitored fire alarm also sends a message to the fire department so trucks dispatch to your location immediately.
On the other hand, fire sprinklers go straight to work putting out the fire. High heat sets off one sprinkler at a time to help minimize property damage. Sprinkler systems can also be monitored for automatic fire department dispatch, but the primary focus is to douse the blaze as quickly as possible.
Together, fire alarms and fire sprinklers save lives and drastically reduce property damage.
How Do I Know If My Fire Extinguishers Are Working?
A vast majority of the time, your fire extinguishers sit dormant. The best way to tell if they’re working is to schedule routine fire extinguisher inspections. You can perform simple checks yourself, but more in-depth testing from a professional should take place once a year. Then, every six years, your fire extinguishers must undergo a complete breakdown and internal inspection.
Do I Need a Fire Pump?
If your building features fire sprinklers, chances are good you also need a fire pump. This machine ensures every sprinkler in the building receives enough water to extinguish a fast-growing blaze. If the pressure drops, the fire pump turns on automatically to increase the water flow to an adequate level.
Water pressure is most likely to be a problem in high-rises, large buildings, and structures with ground-level water tanks. These types of properties need fire pumps the most, though we install them in other buildings as well.
How Often Do I Need Fire Protection System Inspection and Testing?
The short answer to this question is to schedule inspection and testing services for your fire protection equipment once a year. Annual maintenance from the professionals at Unifour Fire & Safety helps to catch and correct problems with your fire protection system. It’s important to maintain records of our visits for auditing purposes since fire code requires annual fire protection system testing in many states.
Keep in mind that you should also perform simple inspections and testing between yearly visits from a professional. Contact us for a complete list of safety checks you can perform yourself.
Why Is Fire Protection in Restaurants and Commercial Kitchens so Important?
Cooking equipment is the number one cause of structure fires, both in residential and commercial buildings. The combination of open flames, high temperatures, flammable cooking fuels, and a frenzied environment makes kitchens a prime place for flash fires. Since the kitchen is the heart of every restaurant, it’s vital to have adequate fire protection here.
Commercial kitchen fire suppression is a combination of several components, including hood ventilation and automatic foam fire suppression. It’s also important to have Class K fire extinguishers installed in your restaurant or commercial kitchen. This way, attentive cook staff can douse the blaze quickly before it spreads to the rest of the building.
If you’re looking for a trusted fire safety and protection company in the Southeast, look no further than Unifour Fire & Safety. Contact us online or call us at 866-511-5540.
Which Fire Extinguisher Should I Use?
Not all extinguishers are created equal. In fact, there are different fire extinguisher classes designed to put out various types of fires. If flames break out in your home, office, or other building with ordinary combustible products, flammable liquids, and electrical wiring, a multipurpose ABC fire extinguisher is the proper tool to douse the blaze.
For cooking fires in commercial kitchens, a Class K extinguisher is needed to put out the fire and prevent it from reflashing. Class D extinguishers are less common and are only used to fight fires that break out in chemical plants and industrial facilities with combustible metals onsite, such as sodium, potassium, titanium, and magnesium.
For more information on fire extinguishers, contact Unifour Fire & Safety online or by calling 866-511-5540.
How Often Does My Fire Hydrant Need to Be Inspected?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requires annual fire hydrant inspections to make sure these fixtures remain in good working order. After all, while automatic fire sprinklers and suppression systems are the first lines of defense, they aren’t always enough to tackle raging flames. In this case, a hydrant is critical for firefighters to tap into when they arrive on the scene to douse the blaze.
A fire hydrant inspection checks for wear and tear, rust and corrosion, accidental damage, vandalism, mechanical malfunction, and partially closed tap valves that could impair water flow. The time and effort required to arrange annual fire hydrant inspections are well worth the peace of mind that comes from knowing these fixtures will perform as expected if you need them in a fire emergency.
What Is the Difference Between Standard and Quick Response Fire Sprinkler Heads?
Standard response (SR) and quick response (QR) fire sprinkler heads have several similarities. They both feature glass bulbs with colored liquid inside that burst when they reach a specific temperature to start the water flowing. Both SR and QR sprinkler heads activate individually with the important purpose of dousing the flames and surrounding areas to prevent the fire from spreading while minimizing water damage at the same time.
The biggest difference between the two systems is that QR sprinkler heads have a smaller glass bulb measuring 3 mm and activate at a slightly lower temperature than SR sprinkler heads, which have 5 mm bulbs. This quality makes QR sprinkler heads appropriate for light hazard applications where ambient temperatures aren’t likely to rise near the activation temperature rating.
QR sprinkler heads also discharge water higher up so it douses the ceiling and prevents flash-over, making it easier for occupants to evacuate safely. For this reason, QR sprinkler heads are ideal for highly populated buildings, such as apartments and assisted living facilities.
How Often Do I Need to Replace My Fire Extinguishers?
Because fire extinguishers come in different sizes, are made of different materials, and contain different extinguishing agents, there isn’t a standard timeframe for replacing them. The best way to make sure your extinguishers are usable is to have them inspected annually. Then, subjecting the cylinders to internal inspections, pressure tests, and recharge services roughly every six years can keep them in service for decades.
However, you should replace your fire extinguishers if you ever notice problems during an inspection, such as a rusty or corroded cylinder, missing or damaged components, inaccurate gauge readings, or missing inspection label. If a cylinder fails a pressure test, this is also an indication that you should discard it and replace it with a new one.
Trust Unifour Fire & Safety for Your Fire Protection Services
If you’re looking for a trusted fire protection company in the Southeast, look no further than Unifour Fire & Safety. We will ensure your home or business has the proper fire safety equipment to keep you and your family/friends safe.
To learn more about our fire safety and protection services, contact Unifour Fire & Safety online or call us at 866-511-5540. We service regions in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia!