The risk of a fire in commercial buildings is much higher than you may think. According to a 2020 report released by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):
- In 2019, there were more than 120,000 fires in commercial, non-residential structures.
- Nearly one out of every ten reported fires are in commercial buildings.
- Non-residential fires have risen by 7% and deaths caused by these fires have increased by 22% from 2018.
Every single building across the country is at risk of catching flame, and they are incredibly common. In Pittsburgh alone, over 200 devastating fires were reported since 2019. Many businesses have been completely devastated by fires – which could have been caught early and put out if they had a fire alarm system in place.
Most commercial buildings are fitted with smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, as this is required by law. Some structures also have sprinkler systems installed which automatically kick in if smoke or flames are detected.
While having fire extinguishers and sprinklers can help control a flame, the best way to save your property is to install a custom fire alarm system. It is a critical element of your overall fire protection.
What are Custom Fire Alarms?
Now, you may be wondering: Why do I need a custom fire alarm system for my business?
For starters, it is important to understand the difference between a generic and custom fire alarm setup for commercial buildings. A traditional box-store fire alarm setup typically includes fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers. These can be purchased and installed through many suppliers – but they are not a cohesive system.
This means that your building could be vulnerable if the fire detection and alarm system are not working correctly.
Custom fire alarm setups are designed specifically for your building so that every square inch is protected. Here are just a few more reasons why it is best to go custom when purchasing a commercial fire alarm system.
1. Personalized for Your Business’s Needs
To protect your building and trigger the alarms, fire and smoke detectors must cover the entire square footage of the building. Typical fire alarms you can purchase at the store have a radius of about 21 feet, or 1,385 sq. feet of coverage. The NFPA requires that smoke alarms should be installed a maximum of 20 feet apart from each other in commercial buildings.
However, not all business spaces are traditionally shaped rooms. There may be smaller offices, hallways, or oddly-shaped spaces which aren’t covered adequately by the detectors. Extremely large rooms can also be tricky to cover. This means that if a fire starts in these spaces, it will take longer to trigger the alarms – increasing the chances of a more deadly or destructive fire.
Custom fire alarm systems are installed by professionals to effectively cover your entire space and provide the greatest protection. They will measure out the footage of your entire building to determine optimal placement so that every square inch is covered.
Customized systems are also scalable, so if your office space size or needs change, the fire detection and alarm system can also be adjusted.
2. Custom Fire Alarm Systems Are Comprehensive
A custom system includes far more than just the typical smoke detectors and alarms. Custom fire alarm setups include the latest technology with new designs for ease of use and intelligent detection. Commercial fire alarm setups may also include:
- Continuous air sampling devices
- 2-way voice service for the area of rescue and elevators
- Landline and cellular equipment monitoring
- Remote system access
This technology provides additional safety around the clock and provides far greater protection in the case of an emergency. You also have 24/7 support from the fire alarm system services if you have any questions or issues.
3. Lower Maintenance Costs
Replacing a fire alarm system can be extremely expensive. The system needs to work together for effective protection. So, when a generic system goes, you likely have to start from square one. Plus, box-store systems don’t always come with warranties. If your alarm suddenly stops working, you’ll just have to buy and install a brand new one.
With custom systems, you will have a warranty to cover any issues and access to instant maintenance for repairs or part replacements. After the fire alarm installation is completed, your service provider will periodically inspect the system to ensure that it is all working properly.
This can help to reduce maintenance costs over time by catching small issues quickly. For instance, if a wire goes in the alarm and it is caught right away, the repair will be minimal. If the system is not tested, this problem could get worse, resulting in a system malfunction that is far more expensive to repair.
4. Reduce Related Business Costs
Having a custom fire alarm system in place can actually reduce your insurance costs as well. Many insurance companies offer discounts to commercial spaces that install a fire detection and alarm system. This reduction ranges depending on the provider, but it can be a sizable percentage discount on premiums.
There are also new tax breaks offered for businesses that install fire protection systems, particularly upgraded ones with new technology. The 2019 Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts (TCJA) allows small businesses to deduct the cost of fire alarm system installation as an expense, rather than a write-off. A recent amendment was added through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act which removed the $2.59 annual limit for businesses.
5. Faster Response Times
Not all generic fire alarm setups are designed to contact the fire department if smoke is detected. Typically, these will ring out warning alarms, but someone will need to physically contact emergency services. So, if the alarm goes off when the building is unoccupied, it could take quite a while for the fire department to show up.
Custom fire alarm systems will automatically contact the local fire department if smoke or fire is detected. This significantly lowers the likelihood of property damage – as firemen will be issued out immediately to put out the flames.
Losing your assets in a fire can be devastating. Around 25% of businesses close their doors permanently after a fire due to financial loss. Having this automatic feature also provides business owners with peace of mind that their building is always protected, even when no one is around.
Installing a state-of-the-art commercial fire alarm system is the best way to ensure that your business is protected from this common disaster. However, you must be sure to partner with a reliable and knowledgeable service provider.
Going with a local fire alarm system installation service is the best option so you can get your system installed, up, and running quickly. Our team at 2 Krew Security and Surveillance has helped hundreds of businesses in the Greater Pittsburgh and Tri-State area find a customized fire alarm solution that meets their needs.
If you are interested in learning more about custom fire alarm systems, please contact us by calling 724-543-0274 or send us a message online.