Fire suppression systems for heavy-duty mobile equipment are investments worthy of close consideration and a thorough implementation plan. As a manufacturer of vehicle fire suppression systems with 50+ years of experience working in various industries across all seven continents, we’ve seen clients make mistakes that have threatened the success of their projects. We want to help alleviate any pain upfront and review some sure ways to fail when selecting and deploying fire suppression systems. We don’t believe you have to be the one making mistakes to learn from them.
1. GO WITH THE LOWEST PRICED OPTION
Make your first mistake by going with the lowest sticker price to save money on the front end without investigating what makes the fire suppression system price higher. There may be several factors in play here, like higher quality components reducing future maintenance costs; the expertise of the manufacturer; or simply a more reliable support network that picks up the phone when you have a question.
2. SKIP THE FIRE RISK ASSESSMENT
Opting out of a Fire Risk Assessment to uncover the unique fire risks of your equipment would be a big blunder. These assessments reveal several risks, like ignition and fuel sources on and around the machine and the probability of those sources coexisting to create a fire. Ultimately, the results of a Fire Risk Assessment allow you to select the right size system and install it properly to effectively put out a fire.
3. SELECT THE SMALLEST SIZED SYSTEM TO MEET EQUIPMENT DEMANDS
Don’t go with a fire suppression system that is undersized based on the needs of your heavy-duty mobile equipment. Ultimately, if your machine is under-protected, then it’s not protected at all. A Fire Risk Assessment and experienced fire suppression system manufacturer can aid you in selecting the right-sized system for your vehicles.
4. DISCOUNT THE BENEFITS OF A DUAL AGENT SYSTEM
You’ll be making a mistake if you don’t consider a dual agent fire suppression system, instead opting for a liquid-only one. Both dry and liquid agents have pros and cons in terms of firefighting effectiveness. But, by combining these agents with a dual agent system, you benefit from all the pros and none of the cons. Dual agent systems are also more economical and take up less overall space on the machine than a liquid-only system. It’s so effective, the NFPA requires dual agent for large hydraulic shovels.
5. OVERLOOK THE IMPORTANCE OF THIRD-PARTY CERTIFICATIONS
Failing to consider suppression system third-party approvals before making a decision can compromise the quality and reliability of your purchase. Sure, a fire suppression system company can tell you they provide a quality product, but third-party testing by independent organizations provides unbiased credibility that you can trust. Bottom line: third-party approvals provide peace of mind that your fire suppression system will work each and every time it’s used.
6. LEAVE THE INSTALLATION TO DISTRIBUTORS WITHOUT EXPERIENCE
When you’re ready for system installation, you’d be dropping the ball by letting a distributor without heavy equipment experience conduct your installation. There’s a big difference between fire suppression system installation experience in a commercial building and experience on large pieces of expensive mobile equipment. You certainly don’t want your technicians learning as they go.
7. FORGET THE MAINTENANCE PLAN
Finally, discounting the importance of a maintenance plan can compromise the success of your entire fire suppression system project. Once a fire suppression system is installed, it becomes part of the machine and requires regular, preventative maintenance just like the equipment itself does. A high-quality system that’s installed correctly and maintained properly will always work when it should to protect your people and assets.