Commercial real estate fires can be deadly. With the right fire alarm system, a building's infrastructure can save lives and millions in property damage. The Union Point building that burnt down in Weymouth this past fall is an example of how extensive fire damage can be without an alarm system. The 4-story condominium was in development and not occupied. Because of this, there was no code required sprinkler system and fire alarm system that would mitigate the spread and alert officials. The fire that broke out in the early morning hours spread and was difficult for firefighters to put out. As a result, the building was destroyed and had to be rebuilt, costing the construction company millions in damages.
The High Price of Fire Damage
Fire can be devastating to a property and its owners, causing thousands and sometimes millions of dollars to repair. Fire damage goes beyond the loss of furnishings and personal property. The things that can incur the most cost from a fire are:
• Replacing Property: Property damage is the most obvious cost of fire damage. Demolition of the entire building is required when the structural integrity is compromised. This can be a devastating loss for property owners that means reconstruction costs and loss of profits during reconstruction.
• Smoke and Water Damage: A big contributor to reconstruction costs after a fire are smoke and water damage. Containing a fire in one area is simpler than containing smoke. It can travel miles and move around cracks and corners. Water from putting out the fire can flow through ceilings and walls damaged by fire into areas otherwise unaffected. Left untreated, mold can develop, posing a health risk to residents.
• Reconstruction Costs: Reconstruction costs must cover, materials, labor, and equipment needed to rebuild. With an apartment building fire, demolishing and reconstructing from the ground up means hours of worker labor and equipment such as bulldozers and cranes.
The Right Fire Alarm System for Your Building
Everyone dreads that call that their building or home is on fire. When the worst happens, knowing your family, employees or tenants are safe is all that matters. After the flames are out, building owners may feel the pain of rebuilding costs. But they shouldn't shy away from the cost of upgrading their fire safety system. Considerations to make when choosing a new system are:
• Personalize: Finding the right alarm system for your building requires analyzing your building's weaknesses. A home alarm system needs to have smoke and/or heat detectors on every floor, in bedrooms and kitchens where fires are prone to start. Businesses, however, might need fire alarms near equipment and more sophisticated alert system to monitor large areas.
• Monitoring: By the time smoke detectors go off, the fire damage has begun. That's where monitoring can benefit. Round the clock monitoring can alert an owner that there's a fire. This is helpful for buildings and construction sites that are often unoccupied for extended periods of time. This can give them the minutes they need to alert emergency personnel and save millions in damages.
• Regular Testing and Inspections: While installing monitoring systems and alarms to meet code are standard practice,regular testing and inspection of these systems are critical to fire safety. Smoke alarms should be changed every ten years and carbon monoxide every five.
Fire alarm systems are the first line of defense in protecting people and property from injury. They can alert occupants of a fire in time to vacate safely and officials in time to minimize damage. A trusted alarm company can help you choose the right system, whether you own a small business or large complex. Making fire safety decisions to your protect your property is an investment you can feel confident about.
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