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Don’t Let Building Security Compromise Fire Safety

Posted on: November 8, 2012

Building security and fire protection share a common goal—to protect life and safety throughout your building. However, it is possible for the two to conflict in their methods, and it’s not unheard of for building security measures to contribute to deadly building fires that could have been prevented with the appropriate fire suppression systems.

For example, a locked exit door makes sense for keeping people out of the building, but it can contribute to major fatalities if the security system does not take fire protection into account. This can be avoided by not installing padlocks on exit doors.

To maximize the protection of life and safety within a building, it’s critical that facility managers understand building and fire code requirements as they apply to security systems. Ideally, a building’s security system would balance entry security with fire safety. Facility managers and building owners should coordinate with fire protection engineers to design a security and fire safety system that does not hinder the common goal to protect life and property.

How to Maximize Security and Fire Protection

Have your fire protection systems inspected, tested, and maintained annually. It is important that each fire protection system is inspected, tested, and maintained according to their own requirements to establish a critical comprehensive program.

Have active and passive fire protection systems in place. Active fire protection systems include fire sprinkler systems, fire suppression systems, smoke management systems, explosive protection systems and more—basically any fire protection system that directly responds to a fire. Passive fire suppression systems include any systems that don’t perform any special action to protect a building against fire, such as fire-rated walls, fire doors and windows, and structural fire protection elements.

All fire protection programs should include proper procedures, procedure intervals, and a management team that performs all necessary procedures and documentation.

At Guardian Fire Protection, we can design fire protection systems and procedures that balance fire safety and building security. If you need a fire protection system in your building in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, DC, call us today!

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