Although there is an increased focus on security systems for commercial properties like hotels, data storage facilities, and warehouses, property management teams are also looking to refine fire suppression and evacuation procedures in the event of a structural blaze. In a recent study of over 100 businesses, only about one-third of respondents indicated that they had a fire safety plan firmly in place.
Fire sprinkler systems that are properly maintained can be highly effective in minimizing property damage; although experts say that they release about one-fifth of the amount of water per minute that a fire hose does, early response sprinkler systems can work to eliminate and reduce commercial fire damage. Early warning systems can also notify local fire departments in advance of severe damage, helping to minimize the effect of commercial fires.
Thankfully, fires that occur in warehouses have declined in the past three decades: they now average about 1,000 reported incidents every year due to the advent of more comprehensive fire suppression systems. Fire suppression system maintenance continues to be a top priority for commercial property management teams. Training staff in fire suppression protocols and having a well-practiced evacuation plan are both highly recommended.
Clean agent fire suppression systems, or systems that make use of gas to suppress flames, can also be used in commercial facilities. In the event of a fire, clean agent systems can be programmed to flood the affected area with inert gases that are designed to suppress and to eliminate commercial fires. Gas and chemical-based fire suppression systems may require staff evacuation and usually provide both audio and visual signals in advance of their activation.
Whether a management team decides to install sprinklers or clean agent fire suppression systems, experts highly recommend extensive and regular maintenance. About half of all unsuccessful fire containment that occurs within chemically-based fire suppression systems is directly traceable to lapses in maintenance, experts report. And with spending on fire prevention topping $150 billion every year, many real estate investors are renewing their focus on commercial fire suppression protocols.