When you are in the planning stages for a new apartment building or significant remodeling project, one of your top concerns should be protecting the building and residents against fire. With careful planning, you can minimize the chances a simple apartment fire will spread throughout the building.
Create A Fire-Resistant Structure
One of the best defenses against significant property damage and injury is having as structure built to reduce the spread of fire. High-rise buildings are the most vulnerable because fire can spread quickly and leave occupants with little chance to escape. Consider the materials used on the outside of the building. Some materials, such as brick or concrete, are better at resisting the spread of fire than vinyl. Additionally, you want to choose materials that do flake off the building, such as shingles. Burning pieces of debris will only exacerbate the problem by igniting surrounding structures.
Fire-resistant walls are important to reduce the spread of fire and smoke from one apartment to the next. As an added defense, each floor should be separated with fire-resistant materials, which can increase the time it takes for fire to spread to floors above and below the initial fire. Stairways should be separated from hallways with heavy doors that are built to withstand high temperatures. This can give occupants more time to escape and prolong the time it takes for a fire to reach the stairs and possibly destroy a way out of the building.
Keep Multi-Level Structures To A Minimum
One of the major dangers associated with high-rise buildings is it takes occupants too long to go from the higher floors to the ground floors. If you are working with a small amount of property and choose to build a multi-level apartment building to maximize space, limit yourself to the number of floors that are still within reach of an escape ladder or ladder truck at local fire departments. Each apartment can be equipped with an escape ladder as a safety measure. If you choose to build an apartment building more than a few floors high, it is imperative to have fire escapes located on each side of the building.
Install Fire Sprinklers
Fire sprinklers are can minimize the spread of fire and provide safe passage for occupants. The best place for fire sprinklers is along hallways because this is the escape route for occupants. You must decide whether you should have sprinklers in each apartment, which has pros and cons. Since sprinklers can be activated for simple reasons, such as burning food, you may decide having a sprinkler in each apartment will more than likely result in more false alarms and damage than it is worth. The benefit of having a sprinkler in each apartment is it may stop a fire quickly and prevent it from spreading. One option is to have sprinklers that are manually activated in each apartment. Having adequate drainage in the floors can reduce water damage if the sprinklers are activated, especially by mistake.
Have The Right Fire Alarms
The fire alarms you choose should be useful to any occupant. Most fire alarm systems only issue an audible warning, but you must consider occupants who are hearing-impaired. Your alarm system should also have vivid flashing lights. For occupants who are both visually and hearing-impaired, consider investing on other alarm systems on an as-needed basis. These alarms may shake the bed when it is activated or have other tactile warnings. When choosing an alarm system, you may be torn between battery-operated and electric models. Use alarm systems that combine both features. Ones that run on electricity will minimize the chance of anyone removing the battery or simply not replacing it, but the system should have backup battery power in the event of power outages.
Apartment buildings can be difficult structures to keep safe from fire. Minimizing property damage and serious injuries requires thorough planning before the structure is open for occupancy. For more information, contact companies like Eastern Fire.