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Fire Prevention vs. Fire Protection—What’s the Difference?

Bob Vezzani
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Bob Vezzani

Fire Protection Engineer at Guardian Security Systems Inc.
Bob is the Director of Fire System Sales at Guardian Security Systems, Inc. He has over 14 years of fire alarm installation and protection experience.
Bob Vezzani
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As a business or property owner, one of your main goals is to protect your business from fire and fire damage. The best way to accomplish this goal is to understand fire, and the difference between fire prevention, and fire protection, and why you need both.

Know the Fire Triangle

We know fire is deadly and damaging, but beyond trying to prevent it we do not think much about it. But we should. Fire is a chemical reaction, and understanding how that works can make a huge difference in how you approach fire safety.
For the chemical reaction to take place, three things must be present:

  • Heat or an ignition source
  • Fuel
  • Oxygen

These three elements are referred to as the “fire triangle”. Fire is the reaction produced when heat, fuel, and oxygen combine under hospitable circumstances. Those circumstances must continue for the fire to keep burning. If one of the elements is removed, the fire will not start or, if already burning, will extinguish.

  • Ignition sources include any material, equipment, or operations that emit heat like cooking, but also less obvious ones like static electricity and grinding operations.
  • Fuel sources include combustible materials, flammable liquids, and flammable gasses.

Nearly every business has all three elements in abundance, and probably do, or fail to do things that can lead to a fire.

Yes, You Need Fire Protection

Fire protection is the process and tools used to ensure the building is in the best possible position to fight a blaze should a blaze breaks out. Fighting fire is a science and it is important to have the right tools in place, rightly.

The first priority of fire protection is to make sure the occupants are safe. This means implementing monitored fire alarm systems that provide early detection as well as a swift, reliable signal to the alarm monitoring center. This puts help in motion as quickly as possible.

Next, the priority becomes having things in place to stop the spread of fire such as fire suppression and sprinkler systems and extinguishers.

Now, A Few Points About Fire Prevention

Fire prevention is the process of preventing fire from occurring in the first place. You may not be able to prevent all fires but some simple steps can reduce the likelihood from one occurring significantly. Here are some important fire prevention steps you should take now:

  • Perform a risk assessment. Identify the weak areas that make your business more susceptible to fire.
  • Adhere to fire regulations.
  • Teach staff about fire prevention practices.

Fire prevention and fire protection go hand in hand and together can help keep your business safe. Guardian Security is one of the largest locally-owned fire and security alarm company in the Puget Sound area and at the forefront of the industry. Guardian security also offers one of the largest AES wireless alarm communication networks in the area.

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