Choosing a Fire Safety Service Provider: 5 Important Considerations
Trying to choose the right fire safety service provider for your business can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Armed with the right information, you can feel confident in talking to providers and choosing the one that will meet your needs perfectly.
There are five important factors you should consider when you are deciding which company is the right fire protection service provider for you.
1. Services Offered
It's important to think about what kind of services a fire safety service company can provide. The scope of their services must match your company's current needs. You will also want to forge long-term relationships with your fire protection service provider, so consider whether or not they're capable of scaling with you as you grow your business. Look for companies offering a standard 12-month warranty and 24-hour on-call emergency service.
Many budget fire safety servicing companies can only handle a small part of what you actually need. A piecemeal solution, where you're getting some services from Company A and others from Company B, may solve your immediate problem, but it's not ideal. This situation sets you up to have costly problems fall through the cracks, leaving you open to fire damage and legal liability. Smaller companies also often outsource part of their services, making it harder for you to evaluate if the quality of the work being done is sufficient to provide you with the level of protection you require.
Well-established fire safety service providers have a proven track record, and handle things in-house so that you always know who is doing the work, how well-trained they are, and if can be sure of their certifications. Having a single company take care of all your fire safety servicing also means you're less likely to find yourself in a situation where you're out of compliance, or your fire protection equipment doesn't work as expected in the event of a fire.
Look for companies offering a standard 12-month warranty and 24-hour on-call emergency service.
2. Industries Served
Make sure your fire safety services company specializes in your industry. Every industry has different fire safety requirements. Restaurants have different regulations than manufacturing plants, for example, because what they do is vastly different. Additionally, when you've got spaces that are inhabited, like an apartment building, it takes a different level of protection than a remote energy storage depot that only has a skeleton crew on site.
General providers without experience in your industry may have a hard time giving you what you need, no matter how great they are at other services. Ask for references and talk to people within your industry to get recommendations for appropriate companies.
A fire protection company that knows your industry well can be proactive about adequately safeguarding your people and property. They'll also be in the loop when it comes to compliance issues, confusing grey areas, and how to prepare for any upcoming regulatory changes.
3. Required Experience
Experience matters. Place your trust in a fire protection service company with a long history of excellence and a reputation for quality work. You will also want to ensure that they know how to work with the systems you have already installed.
Fire safety regulations are constantly in flux. They may vary from place to place, so if you're expanding into a new location, you will want to ensure that your provider has applicable experience in your industry and locations.
Important questions to ask potential fire safety service providers include:
- How long have you been in business?
- What certifications do your service technicians have?
- What kind of training do your technicians receive on an ongoing basis?
- What is the average level of experience your technicians have?
- What brands and systems do you work with?
- Do you also provide fire systems engineering services?
- Do you outsource work?
- What industries do you work with?
- Do you have references?
- What does your customer service process look like?
- What professional organizations are you a member of? (NFPA, or the National Fire Protection Association, is a good place to start)
- What awards or certificates of recognition do you have?
4. Necessary Certifications
While you can do some fire safety system maintenance yourself, many inspections must be carried out by certified personnel only. This provides assurance of a standard of quality that you can rely on and that government agencies and insurance companies demand.
All legitimate fire protection service businesses have certified technicians on staff who are not only certified by governing bodies but also by manufacturers. Look for certification by ULC, CFAA, TC, CASA, and NAFED and NFPA-backed training courses.
Many regions mandate that technicians who perform inspections on fire and life safety systems have to pass specialized training, receive a certification, and be registered with a governing agency.
5. Pricing Factors
Pricing is always an important factor in making smart business decisions. While every company has a finite amount of funding to work with, it's important to be realistic about what goes into the cost of properly maintaining and inspecting your fire safety systems.
Low-budget options may look more attractive to your bottom line, but it's an illusory saving. This is not the place to cut corners in your budget. Choose a service provider and plan that adequately protects you from fire damage and legal liability.
Here are some key things to remember when it comes to pricing:
- Size matters; large and complex buildings cost more to maintain than small units.
- Hazard rating is a factor. It may cost more to provide maintenance to a site that is hazardous to technicians.
- The type of asset being protected can affect costs.
- Your building's age can make it a more complicated case.
- The type of work being done is relevant. Annual inspections are more involved than monthly checks.
- The more complex your system is, the more time and expertise are needed to provide appropriate service.
Lower-tier fire safety service companies offer an initial cost saving, but over time, you'll likely run into problems with deferred maintenance shortening your system's lifespan, non-compliance penalties, fire damage, data loss, legal fees, and death.
Be Confident in Your Fire Protection Company Pick
Control Fire Systems has been setting the standard for reliable fire protection system servicing since 1975.
We're authorized distributors for leading manufacturers such as Honeywell, Kidde Fire Systems, FireFlex Systems, Minimax Fire Products, and Potter. Our experienced technicians are certified and well-trained in a wide range of systems and industry needs. We also offer in-house fire systems engineering.
We offer clients a 12-month warranty and 24-hour on-call emergency service, so you're always covered. Reach out to one of our qualified specialists to find out about building a custom plan that meets your needs.