Are you the owner of a small business? Have you recently moved from a home office to a commercial office location? When you move into a retail or commercial location from a small home office, there are many differences that need to be considered. One of the biggest is learning how to deal with unexpected events, such as fires. When a fire starts in a home, most people will simply grab a fire extinguisher and call the fire department. While that might also occur in a commercial location, you probably also have a fire sprinkler system in place. Fire sprinkler systems are very good at handling these kinds of situations but also may fail to work in a few instances. In order to be sure that your fire sprinkler system will work, you should have the following things checked for:
Deactivated system: If a building has been empty for some time, the building owners will sometimes shut off the fire sprinkler system until a new tenant can be found. This is because the risk of fire is going to be lower than the possibility of damage due to a leaking pipe. When the building is then rented out again, the owner may have forgotten to have the system checked out and reactivated. You may want to pay for an inspection and reactivation out of your own pocket, just to be sure, or you may ask your landlord if you can have some written proof that such an inspection was carried out.
Obstructions: When designing the layout of your office or retail space, you should try to ensure that the tallest items are not blocking the fire sprinkler system. For instance, a tall shelf that is at or nearly at ceiling height may prevent one or more sprinklers from activating properly and allowing water to flow. If you're not sure what the safest locations to place tall objects in relation to the sprinkler heads is going to be, you're going to want to consult a professional such as those at Allied Fire & Safety Equipment Co Inc to ensure that everything is suitable.
Lack of maintenance: Now that you're occupying the building, the task of maintenance will fall at least partly upon your shoulders. Although the landlord may technically be responsible for maintenance of your building's fire sprinkler system, there may be times that you need to remind them to have the system checked—or perhaps pay for it yourself—to ensure that your equipment and personnel remain safe and that there will be as little damage as possible if a fire should unfortunately occur.