Over the past few months, a slew of fire accidents has occurred In India damaging human lives, properties and goods. In a tragic incident, 20 students died after a fire broke out in a private coaching center in Surat, Gujarat last month. Eyewitness recall that in a bid to escape the blaze, students were seen jumping and falling from the third and fourth floors of the building. This accident is just one of the countless fire tragedies in the country.
While new buildings with evolved fire safety standards continuously emerge along the ever-changing skyline;the big question is “why are fire accidents still unabated in the world”? The best possible way to minimize the risk of fire is to take the threat seriously and use adequate fire prevention measures.
PLAN RIGHT AND BUILD RIGHT
Let’s get started with planning right…
The importance of an effective Fire Prevention plan at a facility is of unprecedented importance. Developing a fire prevention and preparedness program can be the first step in the right direction.
Installing Fire Safety Equipment in your facility
There are essentially 3 fire safety equipment that must be installed in a building irrespective of whether it is commercial, industrial or residential.
Fire and smoke detectors
First, on the list are fire and smoke detectors. The smoke/fire/flame is detected by a sensor and its response to the presence of a flame or fire is based on its installation. It may sound an alarm, deactivate fuel lines, activate a suppression system.
Extinguishers and fire suppressors
Once the fire has been detected, the next step is to suppress and control it. This is where fire suppression system comes into the picture as they are used to contain fires and thus prevent them from spreading. These systems utilize dry chemicals, gaseous substance, or wet agents to curtail fire. Fire extinguishers can be used to control small fire outbreaks.
Emergency lights and fire safety signage
As per international standards, all the exits including hallways and stairwells facilitating safe evacuation from a building must be well lit and visible for people with normal vision. In addition, it should also have appropriate exit signs.
It is highly important to conduct regular maintenance of fire protection equipment, emergency and exit lights to ensure these are functioning properly. When it comes to the equipment, the frequency of quality inspections must be as per the NFPA code by the equipment manufacturer and the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).
It is possible to achieve fire safety and prevention in a facility by developing building designs that adhere to international fire safety standards. Quality of building materials, design and layout of a building,style of construction are key factors in preventing the spread of fire and smoke in the event of a fire outbreak.
Any facility must be designed to offer an appropriate level of fire safety to its occupants from heat and smoke. The main objectives are to protect the occupants in the building. It is also important to ensure that adjoining properties are not at risk.
Quality of Building Materials
The quality of building materials plays a vital role when it comes to fire safety and prevention. Fire resistance of the materials determines the structure’s integrity and resistance. In other words, it determines how long a building structure can be functional under a fire event.
Talking about materials, properties of TMT steel reinforcement bars like superior ductility, strength, weldability, excellent resistance to high temperature makes them preferred construction material.Unlike ordinary steel bars,in the event of a fire hazard, TMT reinforced steel bars have a negligible loss of structural strength up to 500 °C. Thus, making it an ideal choice as a building material. The bars come in different grades like Fe 415, Fe 500, Fe 550.
Prevention is better than cure, the adage rightfully applies in the case of fire safety. The ideal approach is to be prepared and stay safe. It is the responsibility of architects, designers, builders, developers to ensure fire safety by using suitable building materials, designs and techniques.