Course:4: Housing Your Collections
Lesson:Lesson 1: Assessing and Improving Your Building
Topic:Protection from Fire


Protection from Fire 

Libraries, archives, museums, and historic structures contain books, manuscripts, records, artifacts, film stock and other magnetic media, combustible interior finishes, cabinets, furnishings, and laboratory chemicals. All of these materials are fuel for fires.

The buildings that house collections also provide potential sources of ignition--such as electric lighting and power systems, heating and air conditioning equipment, heat producing conservation and maintenance activities, and electric office appliances. 

To protect your collections from fire, you should  

  • Eliminate all existing fire hazards
  • Hold regular fire drills
  • Equip all storage areas with portable fire extinguishers
  • Staff should know how to use fire extinguishers
  • Fire extinguishers should be inspected annually
  • Equip all storage areas with smoke detectors
  • If possible, install manual alarm stations
  • Ask the fire department for assistance

Most local fire departments will provide fire inspections and can assist you in developing a fire safety program. If the fire department is familiar with the building and collections in advance, there is a greater chance that fire-fighting strategies may be able to take collection priorities into account.

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Click here to learn more about detection and sprinkler systems.

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Fuel for Fire

Arson is unfortunately one of the most common cultural property ignition sources. It must always be considered in fire safety planning.

Burned document

Burnt materials in stacks 
Burnt Files