The history of fire protection goes way back. From the advent of the Parmelee / Grinnell sprinkler to the introduction of the first fire alarm panel in the 1800’s by Farmer & Channing, fire protection has had various sectors of growth over the years.
Portable fire extinguishers have been around for a couple centuries, but new technology in the mid – 20th century allowed for different chemicals for different fires. Fast forward to the 1960’s with kitchen fire suppression being looked at much more in pre-engineered systems. Big box stores and storage facilities pushed the industry forward with the introduction of the ESFR in the 1990’s.
What is the next growth area for fire protection?
A few years back, while working with Viking, I attended our annual sales meeting in Dallas, TX. That year, there were a lot of new products and initiatives to discuss but one topic came up multiple times. What is the next growth area for fire protection??
In two separate presentations by our CEO and President, maintenance and service of fire protection systems was brought up as the new wave in the industry. Without the proper inspection and testing of these helpful fire fighting systems, a building (and people inside) could be overcome by a potential fire. Insurance companies and fire officials all over the world are heavily looking into how effective their buildings are a quelling fires. Installation standards have been pretty consistent over the years but ITM lacks at times to provide the prescribed protection.
IoT and the next wave of ITM
Buildings are also getting smarter with controlling their day to day operations. The HVAC industry is already there with temperature controls and preventative maintenance scheduling. The fire protection market is soon to be there with smart devices giving building owners and contractors critical data points to help diagnose a system. Internet of Things (IoT) technology can collect data in various systems to troubleshoot and provide more informed decisions for maintenance and reliability.
With the wave of ITM and service already here in fire protection, a contractor or facility must take full advantage of the tools out there in the market. Mobile technologies like Inspect Point allow a building to be inspected thoroughly and efficiently. ITM is an important part of a contractor’s business but service repairs really drive their bottom line. Getting proposals out to customers immediately with referenced deficiencies drive cash flow but also quicker fixes to a fire protection system.
New products and technology have always pushed the fire protection industry forward. In the past it has been manufacturers like Tyco, UTC, Honeywell and others to introduce different ways to put extinguish and prevent fires. The next wave is for internet technologies to assist these fire protection systems to last longer, be more efficient and smarter for the buildings they protect.