The Most Important 3 Steps To Take To Fireproof The Daycare Or Senior Center You’re Building
Whether you are converting an existing structure into a care center or building a brand new facility, your day care center or senior activity center must be designed with fire safety as a top priority. You may think that following local codes will be enough, but to ensure the safety of the children and elderly in your care, you should take the following 3 steps:
Step 1) Design with fire safety in mind.
This means using material that is less likely to catch fire, such as concrete slab and steel. There are fire retardant wall boards, paints, flooring and ceiling materials available that will help buy time in a fire situation. Peak roofs and engineered truss roofs are prone to collapse quickly in fires. So are lightweight wood floor supports, called I-beams. Unlike dimensional lumber joists, I-beams are shaped like the letter I, with a thin center. The lack of mass means they burn far more rapidly than thick lumber joists, causing floors to fail.
Integrate your HVAC system with your fire protection system for additional fire detection. There are both active and passive systems you can install for maximum safety. Having your facility closer to the road will help firefighters pump water in the event of a fire. If your business is set back from the road, have your own hydrant or other water supply available if possible.
Step 2) Think like a fire.
Fire wants to travel, consuming oxygen and other fuel. The more open the space, the farther the fire can spread in a short amount of time. Like a drafty wind or a hard rain, a fire will find the smallest cracks and crevices to leak through.
Seal plumbing and other duct work openings to help prevent fire from reaching upper floors. If your building has a porch, be aware that fire can escape from lower floor windows and catch the soffit on fire, compromising upper floors and roof rafters. Use a fire resistant soffit material if it significantly overhangs the outer walls of the facility.
Step 3) Help your facility fight off fire.
Install sprinkler systems in your facility, including in attic areas where wood rafters and trusses are vulnerable. Sprinkler systems do require some maintenance and winterizing, but they can save lives and protect your day care center or senior center from major structural damage. Desert Fire Extinguisher Co Inc is a local company you can contact for more information in this regard.
It’s also a good idea to talk to the local fire department’s public education specialist. They can help you design your structure and your escape plans. They will also give you tips on additional steps you can take to reduce your facility’s risk of fire. A qualified industrial alarm and equipment company can set you up with a professional, reliable sprinkler system. Combined with fire extinguishers and fire alarms in strategic locations, your dreams of a day care center or senior care center will be less likely to go up in flames.