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Fire Protection System Upgrades & Retrofits

Posted on: May 6, 2017

Fire protection is a vital consideration for any commercial building in the Mid-South. When you first opened your business, you undoubtedly installed a fire alarm system, fire suppression system, automatic sprinklers, portable fire extinguishers, and emergency lighting. These devices have served you well, but like most other building components, they can’t last forever. Learn more about the importance of fire protection systems, how to know it’s time for a retrofit, and what goals your upgraded system should accomplish.

Why Is a Fire Protection System Important?

The importance of a fire protection system can be summed up in a single word: safety. Here’s a more detailed look at why you should ensure your fire protection system is up to par:

  • Code compliance: When you obey local and federal fire safety regulations, you avoid potentially costly fines and degrading reprimands.
  • Fire and smoke detection: Sometimes, you can rely on people within your building to detect smoke and fire. That’s what pull stations are for. But you also need fire and smoke detectors to ensure 24-hour protection.
  • Automatic fire suppression: No fire protection system is complete without sprinklers, foam suppression, or another automated system to douse the fire without human intervention.
  • Timely evacuation: Audible and visual alarms promote life safety by alerting everyone in the building to evacuate.
  • Emergency personnel notification: Monitoring automatically alerts the fire department when the alarm goes off, or a sprinkler head engages.

Signs You Should Retrofit or Upgrade Your Fire Protection System

Installing a fire protection system is a good first step, but watch for these signs that it’s time to retrofit or upgrade your existing equipment:

  • Failure of a part: When a vital component fails, you must repair or replace it as soon as possible to remain code compliant and keep your building safe.
  • Frequent breakdowns: Repeat visits from a fire protection company are disruptive to business operations. Stop paying for repairs and consider retrofitting your system with new components.
  • Aging installation: The average lifespan of a fire protection system is 12 to 15 years. Beyond this, the system may start acting up more often, and replacement parts could become unavailable.
  • Building renovations: New elevators, floors, or wings may require additions and modifications to your fire protection system to remain code compliant.
  • Code updates: Because of their longstanding history, fire codes don’t change much these days. However, even small alterations could affect your building’s compliance status.
  • System incompatibility: Perhaps you performed a retrofit recently, but you have since discovered that some complex components are incompatible. To restore fire safety, you may need to upgrade your system again.

Make Sure Your Fire Protection System Meets Certain Goals

Don’t begin your retrofit or upgrade blindly. Make sure the changes you make meet your building’s fire protection goals. Otherwise, your efforts will be nothing more than a waste of time and money. Here’s what you want your retrofitted or upgraded fire protection system to accomplish:

  • Meet code requirements: This fundamental objective is the biggest motivator for many business owners. Consider exceeding code requirements where feasible to more effectively meet your other fire protection goals.
  • Save lives: The components you install should provide occupants with an adequate warning, so they have time to evacuate. This means including advanced smoke and heat detectors, along with appropriate audible and visible alert systems.
  • Protect property: You undoubtedly hope to reduce downtime after a fire, which requires your suppression systems to kick in soon enough that they extinguish the blaze before severe damage is done. You may need to go above and beyond code and insurance requirements to maximize property protection.
  • Preserve historical heritage: If you operate out of a historically significant building, specific fire codes apply regarding building preservation and special installation requirements to avoid destroying or detracting from the historical aspects of the facility. Even if your building is relatively new, you probably have important historical business records worth preserving in a fire.
  • Protect the environment: Firefighting sometimes requires special environmental considerations. For example, if a paint warehouse near a city’s aquifer catches fire, chemically laden runoff from fire hoses could cause an environmental disaster if it reaches the water supply. Older building materials can also produce noxious fumes when burned in a fire, which may require a particular fire protection design to combat.

Schedule a Fire Protection System Retrofit or Upgrade in the Mid-South

State Systems, Inc. provides fire protection services to businesses in the Mid-South, including Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi. If your business is located in this region and you recognize that it’s time for a fire protection system retrofit or upgrade, choose us for the job. We’re in the business of protecting lives and property with top-of-the-line fire protection solutions.

To schedule services or request a free quote for fire protection retrofits and upgrades, please contact us today.

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