What Is the Difference Between Commercial Fire Protection and Prevention?
As we’ve discussed countless times before, fires can have devastating consequences on facilities and those who occupy them. Business owners and facility managers must make every effort possible to protect their people and assets from this powerful force of nature. These precautions come in many forms, however, and can be broken down into two separate but related categories: fire prevention and fire protection. And while these terms are often conflated, there are significant differences between commercial fire protection and prevention. Let’s go over these differences so you can provide your facility with the necessary tools and methods to keep your people and property safe.
Commercial Fire Protection vs. Commercial Fire Prevention
What Is Commercial Fire Protection?
As its name suggests, fire protection is aimed at safeguarding materials and individuals in the event of a fire. A combination of equipment, procedures and systems are used to create a comprehensive fire protection plan. Fire protection can be active (AFP) or passive (PFP). Active fire protection consists of systems that require a cause or trigger in order to function, such as sprinklers, alarms, extinguishers, and even firefighters. Passive fire protection, on the other hand, doesn’t require activation to do its job – this includes the implementation of fire stopping materials, fireproofing, and dampers (these slow the spread of fire and smoke inside ducts). When properly deployed, these active and passive fire protection measures mitigate and potentially extinguish fires before they do serious damage. At the very least, a proper fire protection plan provides plenty of time for occupants to safely exit the building in the event of a fire.
What About Commercial Fire Prevention?
Fire prevention is interested in avoiding fires altogether. After all, the saying goes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – if you can prevent a fire from starting in the first place, you’ll save significant time and money, all while ensuring the ongoing safety of your people. Proper fire prevention starts with regular facility inspections, especially in regard to electrical features and all other systems and substances that pose particularly high risks of ignition. During such an inspection, the inspector will look for vulnerabilities throughout your facility and make note of any areas, materials, or pieces of equipment that require attention. Taking care of these potential hazards in a timely fashion is crucial to maximizing fire prevention. Fire prevention also requires ongoing, high-quality training and education for all personnel. Human error makes up a significant portion of facility fire incidents. So, those who regularly work in hazardous environments must be well-versed in proper usage, set-up, shut-down, and safety procedures.
Fire Prevention and Protection: Why Your Facility Needs Both
Fire protection and prevention sound similar, but their philosophies are quite different. Still, like all the best duos, fire prevention, and protection work better together than on their own. If your facility lacks one or the other, not only will it fall out of compliance with OSHA and other important regulations – it will also be missing one-half of the commercial fire safety equation. It’s best to prevent a fire from occurring, but if flames ignite, your facility must be well-equipped to stand its ground against the fire until it can be properly put out.
At Kaloutas, we’re committed to the ongoing safety of all our clients’ facilities, which is why we train our teams, educate our customers, and specialize in installing compliant prevention measures (including fire inspections, cementitious and intumescent fire protective coatings, fireproof patching, etc.). To learn more about us and all that we do, contact us online or give us a call at 978−532−1414 today.