Alt Title: X Tips for Choosing a Fire Suppression System Provider
Most business owners realize that a fire suppression system is a good investment, protecting their assets and employees in the event of a natural disaster. Activating automatically, fire suppression systems deploy a suppression agent to stop flames in their tracks, sometimes extinguishing the fire entirely and sometimes controlling the fire so it spreads less quickly.
But there are so many options on the market, the decision becomes overwhelming quickly. There are many different suppression agents to choose from, many different brands of fire suppression system to choose from, and many different suppliers and contractors who can install these systems on your behalf.
How do you begin making such a complex decision that has such a profound impact on your business’s safety?
Set a Budget
Start by setting a budget. Once you know exactly how much you're able to spend, you'll be able to eliminate some options completely.
Most business owners are motivated to spend as little as possible to get the protection they want. This is an understandable motivation, and you definitely shouldn't pay more than is reasonable for a given system. However, it's also important to understand that in some ways, you get what you pay for. Being willing to spend a bit extra for additional units or a better overall system could end up working out in your favor.
Small and modular systems can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars, but most businesses should expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars. When setting this budget, also keep in mind the expenses you would bear if your business faced a fire without a fire suppression system.
Understand Your Unique Risks
Next, think about the unique risks your business faces. Each business is going to have a slightly different fire risk profile, with businesses in certain industries facing much higher risks than others. For example, if you run a commercial kitchen with consistent open flames, you'll probably need to worry about a fire more than a karate dojo.
Different types of fire require different types of suppression agents as well. You can't put out an electrical fire with water, and certain types of chemical fires require specific suppression agents to avoid unnecessary (and dangerous) reactions.
Make sure you know what classes of fire are most relevant to your organization and the suppression agents most suited to this job.
Audit Your Existing Fire Prevention Strategy
Take a moment to audit your existing fire prevention strategy. Do you already have a fire suppression system in place? Do you have fire alarms and smoke detectors in place? Do you have an emergency escape route and fire drills to ensure your employees and customers have a quick way out?
This will help you choose a fire suppression system that complements your existing needs. It will also help you figure out whether you need complementary peripherals to ensure your fire suppression system works as thoroughly as you intend.
Make an Assessment of Your Building
While you're at it, make an assessment of your building. If you want to install a water sprinkler system, you'll probably need to make major overhauls to your plumbing. This can be both expensive and time-consuming, not to mention inconvenient if you need to close down sections of your building while installing the system.
Thankfully, there are much better fire suppression systems available today. Portable fire suppression systems, modular fire suppression systems, and similar systems are much easier to install, they can work in any building, and they don't require any major structural changes to work properly.
Choose the Right Suppression Agent (and Deployment System)
Next, you'll need to choose the correct suppression agent for your needs. For most businesses, it's a good idea to stay away from traditional water sprinklers; in addition to being a poor fit for certain types of fire suppression, the water can be extremely damaging, especially in event of a false alarm.
Instead, it's better to go with a “clean agent,” which is formulated to cause as little damage and disruption as possible, while still adequately putting out most fires.
When shopping for a fire suppression system, consider how it might integrate with other elements of your fire prevention and mitigation strategy. For example, if you already have a fire alarm system in place, is there a way to connect your fire suppression elements to those alarms so that both are triggered automatically when a fire breaks out?
Evaluate Certifications and Experience
When you start looking at contractors and suppliers, evaluate both certifications and experience. Does this contractor have the qualifications necessary to ensure a safe, reliable installation? Are they familiar with the biggest weaknesses and challenges of the systems they install, and do they know how to make up for them?
Inquire About Peripheral Services
Depending on your business needs, you might need to inquire about other peripheral services. Does this company sell other fire prevention and mitigation tools? Do they have recommendations for other resources?
Consider Customer Service
Finally, think about the customer service you've received so far and the service you're likely to receive in the future. If you notice something wrong with this fire suppression system, would you be able to get in contact with a representative in short order? Would this company stand by their installation and make up for any issues you experienced? Would they answer your questions and provide you with extra support?
This is important not only because it has the potential to help you resolve problems faster and more reliably, but also because it's going to improve your overall experience. You'll be much less stressed and much more satisfied if you're happy with the communication and support you receive.
Are you in the market for a fire suppression system? You’ve come to the right place. We have some of the best dry chemical and clean agent systems on the market – so if you’re researching the possibilities, make sure you reach out to us for a free quote!