Tragedy at Notre Dame Cathedral Highlights the Need for Additional Fire Life Safety Procedures

May 24, 2019

Kelly Potter

Kelly Potter

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Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France was scarred by an extensive fire on Monday, April 15th that caused its delicate spire to collapse.

Around 500 firefighters battled the blaze for nearly five hours. By 11 p.m. Paris time, the structure had been “saved and preserved as a whole,” the fire chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said. The two magnificent towers soaring above the skyline had been spared, he said, but two-thirds of the roof was destroyed.

Extensive damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed.

Many works of art and religious relics were moved to safety early in the emergency, but others suffered some smoke damage and some exterior art was damaged or destroyed. The cathedral’s two pipe organs, and its three 13th-century rose windows, suffered little to no damage. Three people were injured.

President Emmanuel Macron said that the cathedral would be restored, and launched a fundraising campaign which brought in pledges of over 1 billion EUROS as of the beginning of May 2019. It has been estimated that restoration could require twenty years or more.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, officials said. But it appeared to have begun in the interior network of wooden beams.

Repairs have begun and will be completed in three phases. The first of the three phases is to improve fire and emergency systems throughout the landmark. The initial $1.2 million phase will include new emergency lighting and fire alarms. Sprinklers will be added during the second phase and the third phase is yet to be released.

Late April, the France Prime Minister Edouard Phillippe announced that France would be holding an international architects’ competition to rebuild, and perhaps refashion, the fallen spire of Notre Dame. Check out the full report at CNN style.

Fire Life Safety Procedures & Practices

FLS (Fire Life Safety) systems ensure employee safety as well as the overall welfare of a business or building. Up-to-date alarm systems guard against invisible hazards such as carbon monoxide and natural gas.

Accidents occur every day no matter what industry you are in but precautionary safety measures and systems can help reduce catastrophes and incidents like the Notre Dame Cathedral fire.

Leveraging Your Facility’s Investment in a Fire Life Safety System

As your facility considers what preventive maintenance systems to implement, consider the benefits of a Fire Life Safety System.

  • Ability to customize your Fire Life Safety system to the specific needs of your property and address potential risks that may exist due to daily operations
  • Implement fire-alarm systems for a wide range of applications & assets on your property
  • Supply fire systems that comply with current NFPA code standards, local requirements, and facility specific insurance provisions
  • Work with facility engineers and incorporate your Fire Life Safety system with a CMMS in order to complete tasks on time and keep track of work orders and compliance reporting

Fire Life Safety & Maintenance

Implementing a Fire Life Safety system is one thing but being able to track and monitor assets associated with the FLS system is another battle on its own. A CMMS can help track and monitor said assets and allow engineers to view data in real-time.

Here are some high level advantages of a CMMS within the Fire Life Safety facility protocols.

  1. Compliance management & reporting. Action plan items are visible to all FLS team members through a compliance dashboard and each item is tracked individually.
  2. Knowledge of maintenance problems across all properties.CMMS provides a real time look at maintenance problems at any location. This allows for analysis of data to identify common problems, trends, vendor issues, costs, and likely capital replacement items.
  3. Mobility is increased when using a CMMS especially when mobile handheld devices are integrated into the maintenance management routine. Mobile handheld devices render the old clipboard checklist obsolete but also enable work orders, inspections or instructions to be recorded at any location either online of offline. The transmission of results reduces the need to return to the office or make phone calls to set actions. The result is greater efficiency and throughput.
  4. A decrease in maintenance expenses. The primary objective of any CMMS system is to manage the maintenance of assets to keep them in working order and avoid early or unnecessary repair/replacement. Timely inspections and preventive maintenance has been proven over and over as a great way to identify problems early before they lead to major repairs costs. A CMMS organizes this function potentially saving anywhere from 10-30% of annual maintenance costs.
  5. Multiple Users Data Entry. Engineers can enter data simultaneously to update asset information in real-time.
  6. Fire Inspection Details & Reporting. Fire protection executive summaries, fire inspection draft reports, fire inspection detail reports, and action item reporting can all be generated and kept on file.

The above are not the only advantages that a CMMS maintenance solution but it gives management enough information to recognize that maintenance and fire life safety should not be considered back office operations.

Kelly Potter

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