Fire danger is an increased risk at construction sites of all sizes. With all the cutting, grinding, and welding that may be going on, coupled with an abundance of flammable construction materials, the odds of a fire incident that involves people and property are high.
The risks are not just theoretical. Indeed, according to the National Fire Protection Association, 3,840 fires threatened structures under construction and an additional 2,580 fires broke out in sites undergoing major renovations between 2013-2017. These fires caused an average of 12 deaths, more than 100 injuries and millions of dollars in property damage each year.
Protecting your construction site and the people who work there is crucial, and minimizing the risk of fire is not always enough. Even with a conscious effort to reduce piles of construction materials that could catch fire or maintain safety with electrical systems, many fires are caused by cooking or lighting equipment. Arson also accounts for many construction site fires, and that’s not something you can control. You need a reliable fire alarm system to detect heat and flame and to protect your temporary construction site as well as the people who work there.
What Features Must a Temporary Fire Alarm System Have?
Because of the unique needs of a construction site, not just any fire alarm system will be effective. Make sure that these features are included in the next system you purchase or lease for your temporary construction site.
- Rugged construction. All the components of any alarm system must be built to withstand the environment. There’s a lot going on at a construction site. Sometimes alarm units may be exposed to the elements while work is ongoing, so they must be weather sealed. In other cases, a unit may be accidentally hit or dropped. Units and sensors must be able to function well in the setting of the temporary construction site.
- Wireless ability. No one wants the hassle of wiring in a system at a temporary site. The best system will have reliable functionality on a wireless network and 3G or 4G connectivity.
- Long battery life. At a busy construction site, checking the batteries in a fire system could be overlooked. Long-lasting batteries that give you 3 years of protection under normal usage are the best option for your system.
- Quick to install. Plug and play is ideal for the components of your system, and you’ll want the option of adding additional sensors and units as needed throughout the project. Ease of use and flexibility are important to any system you consider.
- Adheres to industry standards. In addition to having FCC approval, any system you install should meet standards for NFPA241 as well as OSHA safety regulations. Depending on your site needs, you may also need to meet requirements for HSG168, the Fire Protection Association Joint Code of Practice and BS 5839-1.
- Includes Support. Look for a system that includes good customer service, tech support for troubleshooting and training help for site staff.
The Ramtech WES3 system is up to the challenge for providing both smoke and heat detection for any temporary construction site. In addition to being solidly constructed with 3-year battery life, the WES3 is certified to many global standards and can be quickly and easily installed.
What Additional Benefits Should a Temporary Fire Alarm System Include?
There are must-haves, including those listed above — and then there are features that add convenience and enhanced security for additional ease of use and peace of mind. These options in your system can make system use easier and add additional ways to keep your workers safe. They are certainly worth your strong consideration in any temporary fire system that you buy or lease.
- Inspection delay that lets site managers rapidly check and validate an alarm before site evacuation.
- Pre-alarm functions and isolation mode that let you test individual areas or components without sounding a full alarm to the entire site.
- Medical alert so any worker, anywhere on-site can get fast help from a call point.
- Ability to test or check units from a smartphone or mobile device.
- Regular system polling to ensure everything is functioning properly.
- Excellent data storage that lets you review an event for more information.
- Ability to integrate with other systems, such as access control.
The advanced capabilities of the Ramtech WES3 system include these features so that monitoring, maintaining, and reporting fires or medical emergencies is easy to manage. Its reliability in meeting the demands present at any temporary construction site makes it a top choice for fire protection.
Besides Setting Up Temporary Fire Alarms, What Protects a Temporary Construction Site from Fire?
Fire safety codes for construction sites require more than just installing a fire system. After all, if you don’t have a plan in place for when an emergency occurs or the right training for your personnel to respond to emergencies, the alarms may not be enough. Here’s what else should be part of your comprehensive fire plan that should include a top fire alarm system like the Ramtech WES3.
- Create an emergency plan. Determine which areas of the site have the highest risks and take extra precautions for fire prevention. Make sure emergency exits are set up and well marked. Train workers on where those exits are and how to respond to alarms; regular drills can help enforce that you take fire safety seriously.
- Have a process for managing flammable or combustible materials. Because of the higher risk an accumulation of these materials carries, it’s important to have a written process and training for workers on how to handle and dispose of them. Make sure there’s no source of flame close and install sensors and equipment near the material storage area.
- Install fire extinguishers. You don’t want your workers to fight raging fires themselves, but extinguishers can help put out a small fire before it threatens people and property. Train workers on their use and inspect them as needed.
- Minimize the use of flames. Think microwaves instead of cooktops, contained space heaters with tip-over safety features instead of heating drums and off-site burning or other disposal of scrap materials instead of on-site fires. The fewer flames you have on-site, the less risk you have.
When you’re creating a fire safety plan, give equal attention and consideration to all parts of keeping the construction site safe. At the same time, make sure detection systems and sensors are up and running to provide maximum protection if a fire does break out. With a system like the Ramtech WES3, your site and your people will be at less risk of injury or death in a construction site fire.