For every homeowner or business owner, proper fire protection devices or equipment are vital emergency responses to fires, which include smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and automatic sprinklers.
Despite its importance, these different types of fire safety equipment usually make people feel frustrated and confused. In this article, we are looking at the equipment in a simple yet insightful manner. Let us begin with smoke detectors.
The risk of indoor fire damages, including death and injuries, can be largely reduced if smoke alarms are professionally installed. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) proclaimed that a household smoke detector can reduce the fire death rate by 50 percent when you do the following:
- Keep one detector in every room on every floor of your home.
- Check the detectors once a month to ensure their operability.
- Replace the batteries annually.
- Renew the old detectors every 10 year.
There are many different types of smoke detectors for you to choose from, which include:
- Heat detector: It can sense heat produced by a fire, not the smoke, and set off an alarm or even activate automatic sprinklers. Smoke alarms are required to work with the heat detectors.
- Photoelectric sensor: This type of device can set off the alarm once its internal light beam is interrupted by smoke. It is perfect for quickly detecting slow-burning, smoldering fires with more smoke than heat.
- Ionization sensor: With a tiny amount of steady electric current running through it, the sensor sets off an alarm once smoke interrupts the current. It responds much quicker to fast-moving flames that produce more heat than smoke.
Now let us take a quick look at the fire alarm systems.
As mentioned above, household smoke detectors may do all the fire early warning work necessary in the residential area. But inside the high-rise buildings in the commercial area, it’s a different story. More sophisticated and high-tech fire alarm systems are needed to integrate smoke detectors, heat detectors, and manual pull stations with a fire alarm control panel.
Additionally, sirens and strobe lights can signal a fire and simultaneously notify everyone in the building, as well as the local fire department, of this emergency.
But something crucial can still be done before fire-fighters rush to the scene. For example, portable fire extinguishers can put out small fires or contain growing flames to save lives and property. But this goal can only be achieved if fire extinguishers are used properly when:
- The fire stops growing and is confined to where it started.
- The building on fire has been completely evacuated.
- Emergency or fire calls have been made.
- There is no risk of exposure to smoke from fires.
For most of us living in the residential area, the best home fire extinguisher is multipurpose ABC fire extinguisher effective on Class A (trash, wood, and paper), Class B (petrol, diesel or oils), and Class C (gases) fires.
As for business uses, a Class K fire extinguisher might be necessary due to its effectiveness on grease fires commonly seen in commercial kitchens. Class K fires are normally fueled by flammable liquids such as cooking oils and greases made from vegetable and animal fat.