Importance of Fire Safety in a Mall
Some of the most dangerous places for a fire breakout are confined public places When fire breaks out in a public building like that it can cause massive loss to life and property. One such example is a mall or a shopping complex. Often crowded with people and accelerants, a fire incident can be catastrophic. This is why there are strict rules and regulations for such premises. Commercial premises have to provide for sufficient fire safety as per building codes.
The measures include pro-actively preventing any fire through strict scrutiny. In case of fire, effort is made to minimise the damage. A comprehensive fire safety plan is a multi-tiered approach that includes the appointment of adequate fire prevention staff, installation of fire fighting safety equipments to a careful laying out of a fire safety plan. Let us look at some of these steps.
Fire fighting team
Every commercial complex must have a fire fighting team that will be primarily responsible for ensuring that all fire prevention systems are running smoothly and to see that evacuation takes place smoothly and efficiently. The team should have a team leader or a fire manager. This should be a trained person, either a retired firefighter or someone who has received formal training. The manager is responsible for the training of other personnel and to see that the fire department runs smoothly. The manager also keeps tab on all the equipment and its upkeep.
There should be at least two operational staff who are always on the premises. These are people who form the immediate response team and know how to operate the equipment. Their responsibility is to see that the equipment is in perfect working order. They have to carry out daily inspections to ensure this. The operational staff also acts as the liaison personnel, triggering the building’s fire safety steps the moment a fire breaks out.
For large malls and complexes, we need more than just a couple of people. We need a team with sufficient people to efficiently man a whole building during an emergency. Because of this, key people from the security staff are often trained to double up as the fire safety team. Security teams are spread throughout a building and have the equipment to coordinate with the others.
Fire fighting safety equipments
There is a long list of equipment that a building of this size must be equipped with. Some of these are:
Fire alarm system: This alarm is triggered of by smoke, instantly indicating an incident of fire in the building. The alarm is connected to the control room so that the fire team is notified immediately.
Sprinkler system: This is one of the most effective fire fighting systems, which is triggered immediately by smoke. The sprinklers come on and the pressure of the water can instantly douse the fire.
Fire extinguisher: These must be installed at various points so that one can reach places that are not covered by the sprinkler.
Emergency lighting: These are triggered when the power fails during a fire breakout. This is critical in fire fighting and evacuation.
Escape lighting: A lighting strip that illuminates the way to the exit and can be a critical guide during an evacuation.
Fire exit: This must be clearly marked. There must be continuous and uninterrupted exit route from any point of the building.
Dry/wet risers: These pipes are an essential part of fire fighting safety equipments and can prove essential for firefighters.
Fire tanks: These are tanks that supply water to the risers and in a large building, these are mandatory.
Keeping a fire plan ready
Without a well thought out fire plan, you cannot hope to achieve a smooth evacuation. A fire plan is kept in place so that each person knows what to do in case a fire break out. There are many factors that must be considered here, such as risk factors which will include stores with highly flammable content like restaurant, the average number of people in the store at a time, exit routes and so on. The plan must specify in detail each person’s role in case of a fire — who is responsible for evacuation, how it is to carried out and so on. It will also lay out how fire fighting safety equipments will be deployed.