Whether your business has a factory component, a warehouse, its own office complex, or any brick-and-mortar location where employees gather, keeping those employees safe should always be of paramount concern. An important component of employee safety is fire protection – both active (preventing fires from starting in the first place) and passive (confining fire and smoke to a minimum in the event a fire does start). Whether you’re designing your site from the ground up or revisiting its safety features, the services of a fire protection design engineer should be at the top of your list.
Fire protection design engineering is the art and science of keeping structures as fireproof as possible. As long as there are people in your building, there’s the possibility of fire – even the most careful of us can make mistakes from time to time, whether it’s putting tin foil in a microwave oven or leaving a candle burning. People introduce that “X factor” that a good fire protection design engineer endeavors to install effective and redundant systems to control.
Fire protection design engineering services will include design for both active and passive fire prevention; when choosing a fire protection design engineer, make sure he or she has detailed plans for both of these. If you’re hiring a consulting engineering firm, make sure they have engineers on staff who can handle the entire gamut of fire protection engineering services.
Active Fire Protection Design Engineering involves preventing fires from breaking out in the first place. These measures include both detection and suppression. A building with good active fire protection design will have a complete alarm system built into it, as well as redundant methods of putting out fires if they start – such as sprinklers, a standpipe system (a water system to which fire hoses can be attached), and multiple fire extinguishers.
Passive Fire Protection Design Engineering isn’t really passive at all; an effective PFP system will contain fires and slow their spread, confining damage to as small an area as possible and allowing anyone in the building more time to escape. Passive fire protection design engineering focuses on materials science – here an engineer will choose the most fire-resistant materials used in doors, walls and floors.
A fire protection design engineer isn’t just a member of the engineering team creating your structure; he or she is a vital component, both ethically and legally. All communities have strict and varied guidelines governing fire safety; a fire protection design engineer will know these, and know how to keep everyone on your site safe.