L T M P

Will fireproof also remain fireproof?

The short answer is no. Yet, almost every day I speak to people who think differently. Or maybe I should put it another way: people who haven't thought about what safety involves. Fire safety is a snapshot. What was perfectly all right yesterday won't pass the test today. Compare it to a car. Direct from the factory, few cars have defects. But after a few years, we don't think a vehicle inspection is such a bad idea.

There are three good reasons to review fire safety from time to time.

Reason 1: The installation itself no longer works (properly)

Many fire facilities are not intended for high-frequency use. Hopefully you will never even see most of them in action. But some fire doors are constructed to open and close frequently. Even those doors can wear out or become damaged, causing them not to seal properly. Emergency batteries may fail.

"Fire safety is not a snapshot, it's a process."

Reason 2: Circumstances have changed

Even after fire facilities have been installed, the surroundings continue to change. A distribution warehouse becomes a production hall, walking routes are changed — which means that the safety facilities suddenly have to protect many more visitors. There are also activities that unintentionally adversely affect fire-resistance, such as power lines that pass through a fire barrier. This can significantly reduce the overall effectiveness of the protective measures.

Reason 3: Legislation and regulations change

A few decades ago, the legislation and regulations looked very different than they do today. Products, materials, testing and knowledge of fire safety were still in their infancy then. In the vast majority of cases, the installations of the past no longer meet today's requirements. This does not always make assessing and adapting systems a legal obligation. But if we assume that we are all striving for a safer environment, then it is advisable to check whether it is still safe to work in that historic building.

 

Fire safety is changing. Of course, it takes an understanding of the issues to create a design and a plan for buildings which protect everything and everyone inside. And then parties are needed who design and assemble products to guarantee that safety. But there will only be optimal fire safety if everything is periodically checked, assessed and repaired. It is important to choose the partners (or partner) carefully.

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