Fire Safety Procedures to Remember

It is important for any building in Singapore to set up a proper fire or emergency procedure to reduce damage to property and possible injuries. There are a lot of common fire hazards in work places especially in buildings that are for commercial and industrial purposes. A fire alarm system can be doubly effective if you also take into factor the emergency procedure, methods for controlling fire, and reducing the fire hazards.

Effective Alarm System
Not all alarms are made equal and not all buildings should use the same type of system because there are a lot of factors to consider when setting up one. A poorly-designed alarm system can be a burden to maintain and might not be even useful in actual emergencies. False alarms for example are quite common.

To determine the best type of fire alarm system in Singapore for the building, the following must be considered: early detection technology, type and number of building occupants, and the size and layout of the building. All these essential factors must be given priority by the fire protection contractor. In a large building complex, the smoke detector alone may not be enough. Even a heat sensor can cause false alarms if not maintained properly. It is not usual for other elements such as steam and dirt to trigger the emergency alarm especially in residential complexes where cooking is common. The occupants in the building should also determine the type of notification system that is set up. If there are occupants who have hearing or sight defects, it would be better to install alerts that are both visual and audible. Lastly, the size and layout of the building should be carefully studied to cover any spots that could be hazardous zones. Large buildings require a warning system that is designed to be able to pinpoint exact locations that are affected so that it is easier for the building personnel to shut down equipment, control doors and elevators, and activate fire suppression tools such as the sprinkler system.

Emergency Procedure
For buildings with special functions such as theaters and entertainment centers, factories, museums, and areas where a lot of flammable materials are stored, a special fire alarm must be set up. Most of these buildings require round-the-clock monitoring, which means a more sophisticated identification and notification system should be in place to alert the personnel and fire respondents as soon as possible. For areas where many people usually gather, wireless alarms may be required to avoid complicated cabling, as well as two-way communications for easier evacuation procedures.

An effective emergency procedure should be clear, but to avoid panic, there must be an evacuation procedure, communication methods between personnel and the authorities who must respond to such as emergency, training of building personnel, and guides on how to deal with occupants who will not comply with the emergency procedures. All possibilities must be covered to avoid wasting time during the emergency.

Common Fire Hazards
The fire alarm is not supposed to prevent fire but to reduce property damage and injuries during an actual emergency. Identification of fire hazards in the building should still be a priority by the owners and the personnel.

Some of the common fire hazards are the following:
• Improper storage of flammable and hazardous items
• Poor housekeeping
• Smoking areas
• Poor maintenance and improper use of the electrical system
• Lack of emergency exits or neglect to maintain fire exits
• Unused piles of flammable materials like paper, cardboard, rubber, and others
• Tangled electrical cables
• Poorly-maintained machinery, appliances, and gadgets

Ignition sources are those materials that could be the source of a spark or flame such as lights and electrical equipment, while flammable objects are items that could easily catch and facilitate the spread of fire. These include plastics, paper, rubber, packaging, petrol, chemicals, and others. A building that houses several computer units is just as vulnerable to fires as a library because both have ignition sources and flammable objects.

Regular maintenance of the fire protection system should also be a priority for the building owners. This include regular cleaning of the fire detector to reduce false alarms, inspection of the fire extinguisher which are placed in strategic and accessible locations, and the calibration of the detection and notification systems.