When it comes to fire protection systems, not everything you hear, read or watch is true. There are myths and misconceptions that keep people at risk of losing properties and even their lives in the event of fire outbreaks.
According to Singapore’s Fire Incident Statistic, there was an increase in fires at Shopping complexes and residential premises in 2016 which resulted in 62 fire injuries and 1 fatality in the year under review. A lot of these casualties could have been avoided if people can separate facts from misconceptions.
There are numerous fire protection myths out there, but here are 9 of the most common ones that have been debunked.
Myth #1: Newer buildings are safer; fire hazards occur mostly in older buildings
The age of a building is not a good determinant of how prone to fire a building is. What matters is the fire-prevention features of the building and the quality of the electrical wiring and installations. An older building with newer and better quality wiring will be less prone to fire when compared with a newer building with a wiring system of less quality.
Myth #2: Buildings with Fire Sprinkler system are Completely Protected
Again, this is erroneous. Although fire sprinkler systems are essential for fire protection, it is not enough to guaranty a 100% protection against fire. A dependable fire protection system will include other devices and systems such as fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, fire alarms and many more.
Myth #3: Fire itself is the major Cause of casualty
Contrary to what many people think, smoke is actually the foremost cause of fatality during fire outbreaks. Smoke consist mainly of carbon-monoxide often referred to as ‘the silent-killer’. It causes the inhaler to choke and get easily disorientated even before the fire even gets to them.
Myth #4: Fire Alarms will always Signal a Fire disaster
This is not always true. This depends on how the fire started and its initial starting point. This misconception is the reason why many homeowners disregard any smell of smoke and fail to act accordingly because they do not hear any fire alarm when in actual sense, the fire had already started.
Myth #5: Fire Sprinkler systems Should Not be placed Near Electronics
Contrary to this belief, sprinklers should not be located far from electrical appliances. Most fires in factories and offices start from those appliances.
Myth #6: Small Fire can easily be controlled
This is a big mistake. Most devastating infernos have started out as small and ‘controllable’ fires. Fire spreads quickly. Just within a few minutes, a small and ‘insignificant’ fire can turn out to be catastrophic especially when there are highly flammable materials around. A little carelessness can be extremely fatal.
Myth #7: Smoke Detectors are all you need
Smoke detectors do not prevent fire, they can only alert a homeowner after the fire had started. They do nothing to control the spread of fire. Smoke detectors should be used as part of a fire protection system and not used as a standalone solution.
Myth #8: There is No Difference between Residential and Commercial fire Alarms
This is a misconception. Truth is, residential fire alarms are too simple to be used in industrial properties. Also, while you can install a fire detector in your home all by yourself, you would need a fire expert to design and install the fire protection systems in a commercial building.
Myth #9: With the fire alarm installed, there is no further cause for alarm
While it does offer you some reassurance, a fire alarm only does part of the work in a fire protection system. Your building will need additional fire protection devices like sprinklers and fire extinguishers. But that is not all! You also need to remember that your fire alarm systems need to be inspected regularly to ensure optimal performance.
What’s the bottom line?
Of course there are many other misconceptions about fire protection apart from the ones mentioned above. In Singapore, agencies like the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council [NFEC] and the Singapore Civil Defense Force [SCDF] often organize seminars and workshops to demystify many of these misconceptions and help train workers.
But whatever myths or ‘facts’ you may have heard or read about, always remember to trust the fire experts. They know more about fire safety and fire protection systems than anyone else.
In addition to this, it is worthy to note that no single device can offer complete fire protection. A combination of devices is what keeps your buildings adequately safe.