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How to Determine Whether a Fire Suppression System Is Worth the Money

How to Determine Whether a Fire Suppression System Is Worth the Money

Posted 5/30/2022

Alt Title: Is a Fire Suppression System Financially Advantageous for Your Business?

Your business may be on the fence about whether a fire suppression system is right for you. Sure, it has the potential to extinguish a fire, but it's also somewhat expensive and your business may never experience a fire. Is it really worth the money to install one of these sophisticated fire suppression tools? Or should you just rely on the smoke detectors and fire extinguishers you currently have on hand?

The Equation

Generally speaking, the equation looks something like this.

On one side of the equation, you have the potential cost of a fire. On the other side of the equation, you have the potential cost of installing a fire suppression system. There are some problems with this overly simplistic view; for example, it doesn't take into consideration the fact that a fire suppression system may totally eliminate a fire initially or may only mitigate some of the damage a fire does. Still, it's an excellent tool for estimating how much value a fire suppression system can provide to you.

Let's take a closer look at all of these variables to determine whether a fire suppression system is worth the money for your business.

The Cost of a Fire Suppression System

How much does a fire suppression system cost? That's a tough question to answer, since it depends on many different variables. There are many different types of fire suppression systems that you can install, and all of them are associated with different costs and different challenges.

·       Suppression agent. For starters, you'll need to think about the suppression agent you want to use for the system. Water is inexpensive and readily available, and it's usually the first fire suppression agent people think of, but it also has the potential to damage your equipment – and it’s a practical impossibility in some environments, like data centers. You can also consider using a dry chemical or a foam, but there are many options within each of these categories as well.

·       Coverage. How much area are you trying to cover with your fire suppression system? Protecting a small office is going to be much less expensive than installing a robust system for a factory and warehouse. The bigger the area you have to cover, the more expensive your fire suppression system is going to be.

·       Setup. We also need to think about how the fire suppression system is installed and set up. Is it connected to your plumbing and electrical wiring? Does it require any remodeling before it’s fully installed? Or is it an independent, standalone system that can be installed independently?

Even once you've decided on a fire suppression system, there are several variables to consider:

·       Other fire safety elements. What other fire safety elements are you installing with this suppression system? Are you also placing more smoke detectors and detection systems? Are you adding fire extinguishers? Are you improving fire safety in other ways? A comprehensive approach is going to be more reliable, but also more expensive.

·       Location. Where are you buying and installing this virus suppression system? Prices vary from area to area.

·       Installation requirements. How is the system going to be installed and who's going to be installing it? Messier, more complex installations are naturally going to be more expensive. You'll also spend more money on a professional team, but it might be worth it to get that level of extra oversight.

·       Insurance perks. Is your insurance offering you any benefits for installing a fire suppression system? A lower insurance premium could justify what you pay for the system.

Your Risk of Fire

So what about the cost of a fire?

Before we get too deep into this topic, we first need to evaluate your risk of a fire. If your business is at moderate to high risk for a fire, a fire suppression system is indispensable. If your business is at low risk for a fire, the issue is more debatable.

If you're not sure how much of a risk fire is for your business, consider getting a formal fire risk assessment done. A professional fire risk assessor will evaluate your physical location, including potential fire hazards, operational requirements, building materials, and more. They'll be able to summarize the biggest potential risks for a fire outbreak and help you determine whether a fire suppression system is warranted.

The Potential Damage of a Fire

You'll need to multiply your risk of a fire by the potential damage of a fire. There's a chance your business will never experience a fire, but if a fire does come, you could end up being responsible for millions of dollars in damages.

These are just some of the damages you'll need to consider:

·        Injury and death. If the fire spreads quickly or doesn't get under control, it could end up resulting in injury or death for the people at your business, including employees or customers. You may be responsible for all medical expenses, and depending on the initial circumstances, you may be the target of lawsuits for even further damages.

·        Property damage. You'll also need to think about property damage. If this building burns down, how much would it cost to replace it?

·        Inventory damage. How much inventory do you have on the shelves currently? With an untimely fire, you could end up losing millions of dollars of materials and goods.

·        Reputational damage. Though it's arguably harder to calculate, we also need to consider the fact that your business will suffer reputational damage in the aftermath of a fire. If your business catches on fire, and you don't have a quick and accessible way to mitigate it, people will see your brand differently. If someone is hurt or killed, the reputational damage will be even worse.

Obviously, your insurance policy may cover some of these damages, but no matter what, a fire is going to affect your business's bottom line.

For businessess, a fire suppression system makes perfect economic sense. But with so many fire suppression system options to choose from, and such a complex equation to deal with, it's hard to make this assessment perfectly on your own. 

That's why we are here. If you're thinking about fire suppression, or if you just want an outside opinion about your business’s fire risk, contact us today!