Hiller Know How: Commercial Fire Alarms 101

Previously on the blog, we noted the importance of fire alarms in the home. This week, we want to discuss commercial fire alarms.

It is important to keep a commercial space up-to-date in all aspects. And this certainly includes any areas related to safety. A commercial space, whether it is a corporate office or a doctor’s office, is responsible for multitudes of people throughout the day. Plus, even after employees and patients leave for the night, many files and documents are left at the office. Should a fire start during or after office hours, you want to make sure the fire alarms are working properly and efficiently in order to keep all people and paperwork safe.

The variety of commercial spaces means there are many different things to consider when installing fire alarms. Here are just a few elements to consider.

  • Need: The first thing you’ll want to do is figure out if your commercial property even needs a fire alarm system. Not all commercial spaces require one, and it will vary according to:
    • Occupancy group/classification (what type of people will be occupying your commercial space, i.e. is it a doctor’s office with patients coming and going, or is it a local office.)
    • Maximum occupancy
    • Square footage
    • Fire Risk Assessment (building layout, number of staircases, travel distances, level of fire protection.)
  • In order to determine where your property falls under all these categories—and if a fire alarm system is required, you will need to contact a licensed fire alarm installation company. If you call Hiller Electric, we can get one of our licensed commercial technicians to your property as soon as possible. And if it turns out you do need a fire alarm system installed, we also offer a One Year Warranty from work completion.
  • Size: A commercial space tends to be significantly larger than a home, so the required fire alarm system will also have to be bigger. They will also require more planning and design. It is best to contact a professional commercial technician to oversee the design and planning to make sure you fulfill all the safety requirements necessary for a commercial space.
  • Placement: A bigger space also means more fire alarms in the vicinity—they will need to be spread out throughout the building. This should be planned out before installation, making sure each area is covered by at least one fire alarm, including the warehouse and other large sectors. Multiple fire alarms are required in the main areas.
  • Features: The size of a commercial space will also determine the complexity of our fire alarm system—the larger the space, the more complex the system. All fire alarms will need to be linked together, so if a fire occurs in the basement, the entire building will be notified and can evacuate to safety. Remember a few weeks back when we interviewed Jason Bernard, commercial service technician at Hiller, and he was up in a ceiling as part of his job? Well, Jason was actually working on a fire alarm system for a commercial property that day. He was tying in-door connectors to the fire alarm devices in the building, so that when the fire alarm goes off, all the doors in the building will automatically unlock. This prevents anyone from being locked inside a burning building. Features like that are important to consider when installing a fire alarm system in a commercial space.

If you are renovating and need to install new fire alarms, or are developing a brand new commercial property and need help planning and installing a fire alarm system, call Hiller Electric at (402) 339-0524. We have a number of certified commercial service technicians available, so call us today to schedule an appointment or free estimate!

photo credit: matteson.norman via photopin cc