When fire protection systems are well designed, most incidents are controlled without intervention from the local fire department. Automatic sprinklers provide one of the most effective ways to protect buildings from fire, and their requirements are covered in the NFPA 13 standard. Contrary to popular belief, sprinklers do not shower your entire building when they activate; they respond individually to heat, which means only the sprinkler heads directly above the flames release water.
As mentioned above, smoke also represents a significant hazard, and its accumulation must be prevented at all costs. To address this issue, fire protection engineers design exhaust systems that use fans to purge indoor smoke.
How Fire Protection Engineering Assists Firefighters
Fire protection engineers also design measures that help firefighters, for cases where the automatic systems in a building are not enough to control a fire. The following are some examples:
- A fire command center inside the building, with auxiliary radio communication systems.
- Standpipes, which are used by fire trucks to pump water to any floor.
- When the building has a fire pump, the standpipe can deliver pressurized water without connecting to a fire truck.
Since fire protection systems are critical for building safety, they are normally subject to stringent requirements in building codes. However, the price of these systems is small compared with the cost of the avoided damage, so they can be considered an investment. Fire protection engineering safeguards your building and everyone inside.