When museums and other cultural institutions assess security risks, theft and physical damage by visitors are often top of mind. But stolen goods may be recovered, and mishandled items may be repaired. Property loss due to fire or smoke is simply more devastating. Unlike a typical commercial facility where data – the most important asset of many companies – can be backed up and restored offsite, that’s not possible with paintings, rare photographs and precious collections.
Cultural institutions are subject to all of the typical sources of structural fire, such as a workman’s torch at the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans that started a fire in 1988, resulting in a $5 million loss. Or it may be as innocent as the overheated curling iron that was the suspected origin of a 1970 fire at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
There may also be a greater probability of arson in buildings that are open to the public and perceived as tempting targets. In 1985, arson at the Los Angeles Public Library destroyed 70 percent of its collection and resulted in a total loss of $22 million.
Protecting lives is always job #1, of course. The greater sense of urgency in protecting valuable, irreplaceable property, however, elevates the importance of specifying systems that can give more immediate and thorough protection, which in turn, also serves to better protect occupants.
That’s why fire and life safety system designers for cultural institutions are so interested in FAAST Fire Alarm Aspiration Sensing Technology® for its high sensitivity to even the slightest amount of smoke, as well as the full array of System Sensor detection and notification devices. Together, our systems provide a formidable line of defense in museums, historical centers and anyplace that requires the very best.
By Christa Poss,
Aspiration Marketing Manager, System Sensor