Fire Safety for Animal Facilities: Part II – Fire Detection & Extinguishing
Continuing our guide to fire safety for animal facilities, this month we’ll be walking you through the various ways you can improve detection and extinguishing of fires.
Fire detection equipment for animal facilities
Call Points – Most normal buildings will usually have manual call points where you break the glass to raise the alarm when there is a fire. This is not always suitable for animal facilities due to the animals present. Instead, frangible call points with a cover over the actual point can be implemented, allowing the alarm to be raised in the event of a fire without risking the safety of animals or any of the animals accidentally breaking the call point.
Call points should be situated at fire exits our the nearest viable exits, enabling people evacuating to sound the alarm. On buildings with more than one floor, there should be call points on each floor so that an individual can easily access a call point.
Automatic detection – Getting the right kind of automatic detection system will depend on the type of facility in operation and the type of buildings involved. Required by law where they are needed to protect lives, you should consult a professional for a detailed plan on the set up for automatic fire detection equipment.
While smoke alarms are the most basic piece of equipment, it’s important to consider whether dust, steam and insects could create a false alarm. Single-point optical beams, set at the highest level of the ceiling are recommended for animal accommodation.
Public address systems – More and more businesses are utilising public address systems instead of traditional alarm sounds. This is to communicate clear, precise messages in larger spaces where the public may not normally react to a basic alarm sound.
Fire alarm drills – Unlike most premises, a full evacuation of animal facilities for a fire drill may not be practical, but is still necessary to have an evacuation strategy in place. Whether you evacuate certain parts of the site only where the fire exists, or you put in place a phased evacuation, there will no doubt be more planning and management when it comes to fire drills for animal facilities.
Testing & maintenance – Weekly alarm tests are recommended to ensure the system is functioning and that there are no electrical faults. These tests should be logged and a named responsible person should be trained to manage testing of systems.
When it comes to maintenance, professional assistance will be required to work on a system. You should also ensure you have a back-up power supply which is capable of sustaining any alarms and detection systems.
Fire extinguishing equipment for animal facilities
Fire extinguishers – Fire fighting equipment, including extinguishers, should be provided for animal facilities, including stables and livery yards. These should be placed near exits and escape routes, with two per floor and at least one extinguisher for every 200m2 indoors.
There are number of extinguisher types suitable for animal facilities, getting the right type means analysing what fire class your site is at risk from (you can find a guide to fire classes here). If you’re unsure which is the best extinguisher type for your requirements, or if you have multiple fire types you think you need to safeguard against, contact a professional for advice.
It should be noted that fire extinguishers can be loud when used, so ensure that they are not used when close by to animals.
Large sites – If you operate a large or complex site, it might be worth considering water mist systems or fire hydrants in tandem with other fire fighting equipment.
Other equipment – Other equipment you might want to consider includes:
- Fire blankets – for kitchens or any areas with live flames
- Fixed hose reels – alternative to extinguishers, but requires training for staff to use
- Buckets and pumps – where there are no standpipes or pressurised water systems
Rural facilities – For facilities located in rural areas where there is no an adequate supply of water to create a viable sprinkler or water mist system, a bulk storage for water may be required. This will also require a pump but could be a more costly way of protecting your facility.
If you’re unsure about whether you need a fire risk assessment at your site, or you’d like a free quote for an assessment from a professional, simply contact Elite Fire today. We provide thorough fire risk assessments and advice for every industry, including for animal facilities like stables, veterinary practices, zoos, kennels and catteries.