Fire Protection and Safety
Irrespective of its occupancy status, a fire can happen at any time and any place.
Fire has the potential to cause harm to its occupants and severe damage to property. Fire doesn’t only interrupt the whole process of manufacturing and production but also can cause major damage to the building and plant. Much work will be required in order to restore the entire production process.
Successful prevention of fire depends solely on the management who must survey the operation of the business and determine where the loss potential lies.
Inadequately maintained machines can be fire prone. The overheating of bearing, due to insufficient lubrication or the presence of dust, and heat caused by friction are common causes of fire. Frequent inspection and regular maintenance will reduce risk and make the general tidiness of premises easier to achieve.
Major fires start in storage area and warehouses than production areas. Poorly stored goods, even though they are not flammable, may help to spread fire and hinder fire fighters gaining access to the seat of the fire or reduce the effectiveness of sprinkler systems. Goods tidily stored with gangways may help to inhibit the spread of fire.
Fire Safety Audit
Fire has been rated as the 5th largest risk in the Indian Industry. Electrical defaults are the major causes of fire in India. Fire Safety Audit is found to be an effective tool for assessing fire Safety standards of an organization. In other words, it is aimed to assess the building for compliance with the National Building Code of India, relevant Indian Standards and the legislations enacted by State Governments and Local Bodies, on fire prevention, fire protection and life safety measures.
Though fire safety audit is found to be an effective tool for assessing fire safety standards of an occupancy, there is no clear cut provisions in any of the safety legislations in India, regarding the scope, objective, methodology and periodicity of a fire safety audit. Therefore, Fire Safety Audit should be made mandatory for all over India and the work should be entrusted to independent agencies, which have expertise in it. It is reasonable to have a fire safety audit in every year.
Clean agent suppression systems
Clean agent fire suppression systems make the use of inert gases and chemicals in extinguishing a fire.They are also known as gaseous fire suppression. In these systems, fire is suppressed manually or automatically by reducing heat rather than reducing oxygen, reducing fuel or preventing the chain reaction effect of fire. These systems work on a total flooding principle where the agent is applied in a three dimensional method within the enclosed space to deliver a concentrated, highly focused dose of fire suppression.
Clean agent systems are able to suppress fires without causing additional damage unlike water. This drastically reduces the costs incurred for repairs and replacements. This makes these systems the fire suppression systems of choice for commercial and public enterprises that want fast, effective fire suppression that minimizes damage to structures, electronics and other assets.
The agents are non-toxic, they cause no breathing problems for people and won’t obscure vision in an emergency situation.
Automatic Sprinkler Systems
Sprinkler systems are among the most useful tools in firefighting. Automatic sprinklers often are one of the most important fire protection options. The successful application of sprinklers is dependent upon careful design and installation of high quality components by capable engineers and contractors.
A sprinkler system must be installed in compliance with the building’s need. Wet pipe systems offer the greatest degree of reliability and are the most appropriate system type for most heritage fire risks. With the exception of spaces subject to freezing conditions, dry pipe systems do not offer advantages over wet pipe systems in heritage buildings. Preaction sprinkler systems are beneficial in areas of highest water sensitivity. Their success is dependent upon selection of proper suppression and detection components and management’s commitment to properly maintain systems. Water mist represents a very promising alternative to gaseous agent systems.
In India, although there are many rules and regulations, codes and standards related to fire safety they are seldom followed. Laxity in following fire safety measures causes major fires in many buildings. Proper attention must be paid to minimize fire loss because ultimately the community at large has to bear all the losses. There exists large number of different types of firefighting equipment and suppression systems to suit specific requirements. The use of smoke detectors, fire alarms, automatic sprinklers, water mist systems, clean agent suppression system should be encouraged. Above all the success of fire prevention and fire protection mainly depend upon the active co-operation from all personnel.