Living in cities has its own perks. You live in a vibrant and happening environment. You enjoy the nightlife and the shopping malls and become the fastest receivers of new technologies.
Most people that live in cities live in apartment complexes. These concrete jungles have their own community and way of life. With all the good things come the bad.
Apartment complexes are more prone to fire hazards than other living abodes. Thousands of people live there, in close living quarters where a small fire can spread from one home to hundreds.
Fireproofing your apartment complex is crucial. Since an apartment complex means community living, the following steps of fire prevention and safety must be taken by all residential households.
Types of Fire Protection
People often say that having passive fire protection reduces the need of active fire protection. Others think that active fire protection is much more important.
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There is a lot of debate regarding the two types of fire protection steps out there. Having a combination of both types can ensure total fire safety & prevention.
Passive Fire Protection Systems
The apartment complex design and building material used plays a crucial part in fire prevention and safety.
Passive fire protection systems help prevent fire and spreading. These systems are put in place when the apartment complex is being built, and some adjustable changes can be made even after the building has been completed.
These protective systems are passive, meaning they do not actively stop fire However, they can prevent the fire from starting to begin with. Read on to learn about the passive fire protection systems currently in existence.
Fire-Resistant Building Materials
Building the apartment complex with fire-resistant building materials can help fireproof the building. Building fire-resistant rated walls can prevent fires from catching and spreading.
Building walls using bricks, concrete, fire-resistant Gypsum boarding, or stucco plaster can help fireproof them. Wood is highly flammable, and plastic melts in high heat, so it is better to avoid those.
Fire-resistant glass can also be used to help prevent a fire outbreak. This not only protects each apartment but also stops the fire from spreading door to door. Fire-resistant rated doors can also be used to keep out the fire.
You can use fire-retardant coatings and sprays on flammable cables or surfaces. Fireproofing cladding can also be used to protect flammable objects.
Fireproof Building Designs
Fireproof building designs can also help prevent fires and spreading. Inserting firewalls can help in fireproofing your apartment complex.
Firewalls can be the key factor in preventing fire spreads. A firewall distances two separate rooms or apartments. In case a fire starts in one place and the walls of that room collapse, the room separated by the firewall remains unaffected.
The use of occupancy separation fulfills a similar requirement. Occupancy separations are floor or wall assemblies that separate various apartment units. This also helps prevent the fire from spreading from one unit to another.
Gas leaks are a common cause of the fire. Gas leaks cause fires more often in poorly ventilated areas. Having windows that open helps a lot in preventing fires and even reduce choking during fires.
To prevent gas leaks or remove greasy, flammable vapors from the kitchen, having an exhaust fan or a kitchen hood is a necessity.
Adding vents to ensure proper ventilation also helps prevent fire hazards. However, using fire dampers on vents, heating, and air conditioning units is mandatory in order to prevent fire spreading.
Active Fire Protection Systems
Active fire protection systems actively help prevent and fight fires from spreading. These systems are used to detect and fight fire in case outbreaks occur. Most countries have regulations regarding active fire protections, particularly for multistoried buildings.
Fire Detection Devices & Alarm Systems
Smoke or heat detection devices can be placed on walls and roofs of areas that might be more prone to fire. Many countries require residents to have a fire detection system placed throughout houses or at least in the kitchen to detect smoke or heat in case of an emergency.
The detection system rings or plays a warning signal for the people in the immediate vicinity, but most also sends a signal to the fire department.
Traditional fire alarm systems are switches or levers that people need to manually start. These are usually placed in hallways, near the stairs or entrances.
Alarm systems help prevent fires, and in case of an outbreak, also helps evacuate and alert the fire department.
Automatic Fire Fighting Systems
Automatic fire fighting systems work like smoke and heat detectors. They sense the fire and start working on their own. This provides immediate protection from fire and tries to stop it from spreading.
The most commonly used automatic fire fighting systems are sprinklers. Sprinklers are often attached to the ceiling, and once activated, it sprinkles water everywhere to extinguish the fire. This helps protect the building until the firefighters come in and often manages to stop the fire.
Another effective method of firefighting is a foam extinguishing system. Foam extinguishers work like sprinklers, but instead of water, they blanket the area with plenty of fire suppressing foam.
These systems provide immediate action against a fire outbreak and are highly recommended for fire-prone areas.
Manual Fire Fighting Systems
Manual fire fighting systems can be used by people to help control and protect from a fire outbreak. These firefighting systems are mandatory for most public venues.
The most common manual fire fighting instrument is the fire extinguisher. Fire extinguishers are usually found in a glass box, hanging on a wall. The glass is broken to extract the extinguisher, which is used to spray foam on fire.
Keep an eye on the expiration dates of the extinguishers and make sure it’s replaced in due time. Also, keep fire protection blankets to extinguish fires.
Standpipe firefighting systems are necessary for extinguishing fires. These pipes are used to spray water directly on the fire. An immediate response against fire outbreaks helps prevent massive damage.
Ensuring fire safety and prevention in your apartment complex is crucial to prevent fire hazards. Using a combination of active and passive fire prevention systems help prevent and fight fire outbreaks.
Community awareness is also important for preventing fires in residential complexes. Working together and staying vigilant is the best way to prevent fire.