PART X: TECHNOLOGY ENHANCEMENTS
The requirements stated in the Florida Fire Prevention Code are minimum requirements for an acceptable level of safety. The code requirements are different for new and existing buildings to avoid hardship on existing buildings owners by imposing new requirements. However, more stringent requirements are developed based on fire experience and actual results. There is no prohibition for an owner to implement requirements beyond the minimum requirements. The following is a list of recommendations that can enhance the level of safety in your establishment.
Install an automatic sprinkler system even if not required by code. Currently, the Florida Fire Prevention Code mandates sprinkler system for existing nightclubs having an occupant load over 300 people, and for new nightclubs having an occupant load over 100 people. An existing nightclub with 300 occupant load or less can benefit greatly from the installation of a sprinkler system. However, the national standard as stated in the NFPA 101 is to require a sprinkler system for all nightclubs with an occupant load of 100 persons or more.
Sprinkler systems save lives, reduce property damages, and reduce business interruption. Unfortunately, people believe the myths about sprinkler systems rather than obtaining the correct information.
Myth 1: The water damage from sprinkler is worse than a fire
The truth is, a sprinkler will control a fire with a tiny fraction of the water used by fire department hoses, primarily because it acts so much earlier. Automatic systems spray water only in the immediate area of the fire and can keep the fire from spreading, thus avoiding widespread water damage.
Myth 2: Sprinklers go off accidentally, causing unnecessary water damage
Accidental water damage caused by automatic sprinkler systems is relatively rare. One study concluded that sprinkler accidents are generally less likely and less severe than mishaps involving standard home plumbing systems. Most documented incidents have been a result of poor maintenance or careless physical damage to the system.
Fire alarm systems
Install fire alarm system even if not required by code. Currently, the Florida Fire Prevention Code mandates a fire alarm system for existing nightclubs or bar lounges with an occupant load more than 300 persons. An existing nightclub with 300 occupant load or less can benefit greatly from the installation of an alarm system.
Upgrade fire alarm to connect music shut down and lighting systems. In the past, the sound system was not connected to the fire alarm system to “shut down” upon an alarm activation. If the sound system does not shut down, then the occupants may not hear the fire alarm activation. In addition, lighting should switch to full illumination levels upon activation of the alarm.
Implement good communication system for employees during hours of operation. A radio or phone system with the use of earphones can improve communication between management and employees in the event of an emergency. Install emergency phones (dialing 911 only) in remote areas depending on size of club so employees are able to contact the fire department immediately.