Fire safety and prevention is always paramount, but facilities with buildings constructed over twenty years ago may not meet and satisfy current fire code regulations. Nowhere is this more important than with colleges and universities, many with buildings constructed more than one hundred years ago. Protecting the country’s youth does not always take a front seat, but proves to be costly every year.
One main problem regarding latent and potential fire hazards on school campuses pertains to housing and dormitories. Many of these structures which were built more than thirty years ago were not designed with present fire codes in mind. Many of these facilities relied upon the use of asbestos to help combat the threat of fire. Due to the health risks which asbestos presents, asbestos materials have been removed and replaced by safer building materials. In doing so, it has increased the risk of death and extensive property damage. Open stairwells, the lack of fire barriers, and the lack of fire or smoke dampers are just a few more of the crippling aspects of older dormitories. On-campus fraternities and sororities often share similar weaknesses.
Another consideration of a serious problem, although it is much more specific, affects those individuals in wheelchairs. Universities and colleges have added elevators in many older buildings to maintain compliance with accessibility requirements. While this allows wheel chair access to all floors of a building, in the event of a fire elevators are deactivated. Obviously the outcome of a fire in one of these buildings is easily predictable without incorporating areas of rescue assistance for wheelchair access.
Fire alarm panels and control systems have come a long way from the basic siren or bell system with which most adults may remember from elementary school. Today in addition to the traditional fire alarm systems, modern fire alarms, control panels and security systems have evolved into highly complex addressable computer panels and communication centers. Costs can easily exceed well beyond $20,000 for a fire control system in a university dormitory setting. The major obstruction to updating or upgrading these aging buildings is the growing budgetary limitations. The cost to retrofit many of these buildings is prohibitive. Much of the monies delegated to construction and infrastructure is tied up with new buildings and facilities. Schools may qualify for federal funding for the purpose of retrofitting and upgrading those structures which currently do not meet the minimum fire codes.
If the building is in the planning stages a basic fire fire extinguisher in Malaysia can seem like a sizable investment. If the building in question is already completed or being purchased retrofitting the structure may be necessary in order to bring the property up to minimum fire code requirements. The cost can be much higher than new construction. It is important to note regarding real estate transactions of commercially zoned property that real estate agents will very likely be ill equipped to make an informed assessment of any fire control panel or suppression system. Contacting a fire alarm or security company which may inspect fire suppression equipment may be necessary to prevent additional costly oversights after the real estate transaction has been completed.
Regardless of the type of business, it is mandatory to have an inspection performed of any fire sprinkler or suppression system present at regularly scheduled intervals. Usually the interval is consistent with a one year period. In many jurisdictions, however, it may be more frequently required.