When building your business, the health and safety, and fire procedures may be at the back of your mind. Unfortunately, many people seem to take the ‘it’ll never happen to me’ approach. The reality is that fires do occur across all industries and all businesses must take the proper precautions to prevent them. One of the most effective preventative measures to install is fire shutter doors.
What Are Fire Shutters?
Industrial fire shutters are third on the list of most helpful pieces of equipment to have during a fire, only below fire alarms and fire doors. Surprisingly, fire shutters are much higher up the list than fire extinguishers, which highlights their importance to fire safety measures.
Fire shutters are a sheet of fire-resistant metal that folds into a roll above your doors and windows in a building. They’re similar to the types of shutters you might see on the outside of shops, however, these shutters never have holes in them which allows the shutters to block off oxygen. Fire shutters should cover all windows and doors within your workplace premises.
How Do Fire Shutters Work?
Generally, they’re hooked up to your fire alarm system, so when someone triggers the alarm, they’ll automatically start reeling themselves down to cover the windows and doors.
However, they can also be fitted with a heat detection system, which means certain shutters can close themselves when they feel extreme heat. This allows you to leave certain areas of your building open for evacuation, other than fire exits, while the fire is still contained.
You can even hook them up to both depending on what suits you best.
Why Invest In Industrial Fire Shutters?
Choosing to install fire shutters is a decision that could save lives.
- Compartmentalisation – Fire shutters work by separating your building into compartments. An extra barrier between you and fire can give you an extra 30 minutes to get out of a burning building.
- Reduces Oxygen – Fires need oxygen to survive. The fire shutter reduces the amount of oxygen in your property, meaning fire can’t spread as easily as it has nothing to fuel it.
- Prevent Extreme Damage – Aside from the shutters giving people an extra 30-minutes to evacuate, it also provides a 30-minute window for the emergency services to arrive. This means that there’s less chance that the whole building will be set ablaze, and you may be able to claim on your insurance if a room does get damaged. This gives your business more contingency and means you may not have to close down for repairs.
- Triggered by the Alarm – Lots of other safety mechanisms, firewalls, for example, may disrupt the everyday operations within your business. However, fire shutters only trigger when the fire alarm sounds, so they won’t disrupt your business unnecessarily.
Things To Look Out For
Ensure you only put these on internal doors and windows. Fire shutters should never block any of the exits as they may prevent people from leaving the building in an emergency.
You’ll also need to keep on top of maintenance. Fire shutters require a test once a month to ensure there are no holes in them that can let oxygen through and they reach across any openings to create compartments within the building. Although they rarely need to be replaced, regular maintenance is essential to ensure your employee’s safety.
Do Fire Shutters Ever Fail?
Even if your power goes out, fire shutters can be hooked up to an internal backup power source, just like your smoke alarms. If your battery fails, each door will come with a hand crank so you can close them manually if you need to.