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How to ‘go green’ with fire safety

Green grass with blue sky backgroundAs business owners we’re under constant pressure to go green. It can be quite tough. Fire safety doesn’t have to be a hindrance. Here are our top tips on keeping your fire protection eco-friendly.

Fire sprinkler systems are eco-friendly

Fire sprinkler systems are already environmentally friendly. Firstly, they release water early, so keep the fire at bay. This significantly reduces the amount of water that the fire services will use when they arrive. Sprinkler systems tend to use 50 – 100 litres of water per minute to control a fire. Firefighters use 1,000 – 2,000 litres per minute to extinguish it. All of that excess water is incredibly harmful. Run off water will become contaminated as it travels over burnt materials. This is harmful to the environment. Also, water damage will mean you use more materials and tools rebuilding a damaged construction. Secondly, keeping the fire smaller reduces the amount of damage the fire will do. Again, this means fewer materials are used replacing those damaged by the fire. As an even greener alternative to a sprinkler system, try a water mist suppression system. They tend to use lower volumes of water than sprinkler systems do.

Use greywater

Greywater is relatively clean water that comes from baths, sinks, washing machines and the like. You can reuse this water, and contained rainwater, to supply your sprinkle systems, rather than letting it go to waste.

Buy eco-friendly fire extinguishers

While necessary, most fire extinguishers are harmful to the environment, due to the extinguishing agent they use. Environmentally friendly fire extinguishers will use a clean agent gas that causes little, or no, Ozone depletion. A word you might recognise is Halon. On the most part, these have been phased out, and are illegal in most uses. New, fluorocarbon fire extinguishers are the ones most commonly used.

Consider the materials you use

When constructing a new building, it’s important that fire safety and sustainability are both considered. You’ll need to evaluate the materials you use, as sustainable materials can be a fire hazard. The opposite is often true, too. It’s not always possible to find a material that ticks both boxes – for instance, the use of cement is responsible for 5% of all CO emissions, but a building made from wood is a fire waiting to happen. If you need to compromise, never sacrifice fire safety, as there are few things as wasteful as a burnt down building.

Put fire safety first

There are few things as harmful to the environment as a fire. The fire itself releases carbon dioxide and other toxic fumes (depending on what has been burnt). Then there’s the environmental damage done by the materials used to fight the fire. On top of this, you have to replace the materials that have burnt down. photo credit: A Guy Taking Pictures via photopin cc

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