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Automated Fire Systems Provide Protection, Better Prevention

By Miriam Bello | Mon, 05/17/2021 - 15:23

Q: Why should companies invest in high-quality, high-tech fire protection equipment such as Koltek's?

A: Koltek’s design allows the system to operate automatically in the event of a fire, regardless of the presence of people. This significantly reduces fire damage to the companies' infrastructure and allows a faster return to normal operations. Automation is especially important because there are more fires at night when there are fewer people who can act quickly to put it out. The pandemic exacerbated the situation because it led to a reduction of on-site personnel during the day.

For hospitals, the relevance of the system is enormous because there are patients with limited mobility or who require life support. Because of these conditions, an automatic and effective system is essential. Currently, most hospitals are not adequately protected, even those in the private sector.

Q: One of Koltek's differentiators is collaboration with customers to develop a solution tailored to their needs. What has been your experience working with the hospital industry?

A: We nurture a very close relationship with customers and together we define an optimal solution that is later customized to offer the most suitable equipment for the facility. Our experience with hospitals has been different because they usually have a very limited budget for fire protection. This means that, although hospital managers recognize the importance of having the right systems in place, the budget approved by investors limits their ability to generate more secure spaces. Investors forget that fire systems save lives.

Public hospitals can also have great infrastructure but often it is not properly maintained. In other cases, the contracted firefighting system was very poor because only the minimum was installed.

Q: How often do you need to maintain these types of fire services and solutions at hospitals?

A: All the fire protection systems we install follow international standards and require monitoring. These standards have been in place for over 100 years and have a strict updating program that can include weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, semi-annual, annual or five-yearly inspections. Inspection, testing and maintenance activities ensure that the investment in a safety system is not diminished by the lack of maintenance of a component.

Q: How do you help investors see the value of investing in fire protection?

A: At the end of each installation, we approach the client with a reminder to carry out maintenance at the specified intervals. We also keep a detailed inventory of their devices, their updates, personnel rotations for training purposes and update plans, among other matters.

We implemented a paperless initiative for uploading all the required documentation so clients can access all inventories and reports. If an incident occurs, the insurance company can only validate the policy if the maintenance contract is in place and the faults reported in the inspections have been addressed.

Q: How strict are regulations in the healthcare industry for the installation of fire systems? In which areas should standards be improved?

A: A key difference between fire protection and other kinds of infrastructure is that if the fire protection system fails, many people are going to die. Fire protection associations and councils are working to make fundamental changes that strengthen the regulatory mechanisms involving fire protection. The National Council for Fire Protection (CONAPCI) and the Mexican Association of Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems (AMRACI) are in close contact with government authorities, the Ministry of Economy and various chambers of commerce and industry to close this gap.

Hospitals face numerous hazards because they have multiple people who will be difficult to evacuate. An out-of-control hospital fire would claim many lives. There are hospitals with very good infrastructure standards that do not take the importance of fire systems fully into account. There is certainly a gap between what Mexican standards require and what should be required.

 

Koltek designs, installs and maintains high-tech fire protection systems. Its primary areas of activity are in the manufacturing sector.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst