Importance of evaluating risks to safety
According to Rick Taylor, Sales Director for Fire Systems, Inc., involving a Fire Protection Contractor when undergoing construction or changes to a floor plan is important.
Even a small change to a workspace could impede the ability of a current fire sprinkler to extinguish a fire. To avoid this issue, fire alarm evacuations should be reviewed when making changes as well as the buildings’ fire alarm system to ensure it still meets the codes and standards of the previous floor plan. If there are plans for adding on to an existing space in a building with fire sprinklers, the sprinkler system will require modifications as well.
“Life safety and liability of your employees and property are your responsibility,” explains Taylor. “Risk providers could deny a claim, if one were to arise, and it was discovered you made changes that influenced the Life Safety systems negatively. Even moving or adding a single wall could impede the ability of the sprinkler system to put out a fire.”
The responsibility to employees’ safety is also a requirement that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) makes a priority. Per the NFPA Fact Sheet on Referenced Standards, “If you are a building owner/facility manager, you must ensure that you follow the inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) requirements in the referenced documents to keep your buildings, occupants, and contents safe on an ongoing basis.”