PROPER FIRE SPRINKLER / SUPPRESSION INSPECTION ETIQUETTE
A big part of the scope of risk management for your business is the maintenance and upkeep of your facility’s fire protection system. Most facilities these days have fire sprinkler and / or suppression systems that are in place to react quickly to limit property damage and save lives. Without proper inspections and testing, you are not only operating outside the parameters of the law, but increasing liability by creating a dangerous and potentially deadly situation in your business. With regular inspections and testing, you can avoid the possibility of having an event that escalates due to faulty or non-functional system. Some possible issues include having a damaged sprinkler head, a leak in a pipe, obstructions placed near heads or lowering of water pressure as time goes by.
SPRINKLER INSPECTIONS VS TESTING
While the words “testing” and “inspections” are often used interchangeably by property owners, they are actually quite different. Tests are similar to inspections but the inspections are primarily visual checks, while testing involves actual physical use of the equipment to see that the system operates fully as designed. For this reason, testing is normally carried out at less frequent intervals than inspections are. In a fire inspection or test, a professional will visit your facility and physically inspect the system looking for signs of damage or issues with functionality such as:
> Peeling Paint
> Foreign Material Build-up
> Clearance Beneath Head
> Proper Water Pressure
< Proper Water Flow
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has outlined these requirements in NFPA 25: Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.
FREQUENCY: HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY SPRINKLERS BE INSPECTED ?
The gauges need to be inspected in dry, pre-action type and deluge systems as often as once a week to make sure they are fully functional. The wet pipe gauges can go a month at a time.
Every three months, you need to have a more extensive inspection done inclusive of the water flow alarm, valve alarm, control valves, signal devices, hydraulic nameplates and fire department connections.
An annual inspection will be more intensive and include looking at the pipework, fittings, hanger and seismic bracing, signage and sprinkler heads themselves.
EVERY FIVE YEARS
At five years , it is recommended to thoroughly inspect all internal pipework as it relates to the sprinkler system and check for any obstructions or blockage.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY SYSTEM BE TESTED ?
It is advised to run a physical test on all fire sprinkler mechanical devices checking for functionality
Every six months, vane and pressure switch type devices should be tested
Every year it is required that you conduct a complete test of your fire sprinkler system. Every component of the system should be checked by a licensed Technician including the water flow, pump system, alarm and trip tests of dry pipe, deluge and pre-action valves.
EVERY FIVE YEARS
Testing advised at this point on systems exposed to harsh conditions or high temperatures. Gauge testing is also a part of the 5 year and they all be tested and / or replaced.
EVERY TEN YEARS
Dry sprinkler systems should be tested and / or replaced after 10 years. Fast-response sprinklers should be tested after 20 years and at 10 year intervals after that, and standard sprinklers should be tested after 50 years, and then at subsequent 10 year intervals.
After testing, your fire alarm professional should provide you with a detailed report of the results of the test, the work they did and point out any deficiencies in the system that may require additional work to correct and stay in compliance with NFPA standards.
Remember, as the property owner, you bear the responsibility to make sure your system(s) stay maintained and in compliance to prevent a fire from being quickly contained by the system that was designed to do so. With regular fire alarm, sprinkler / suppression inspections and testing you can accomplish this.
If you would like additional information or a quote for services, please contact Claire or Dave at Protech at 281.219.0200 or visit our website at www.protechfs.com
Life safety service provider for 13 years specializing in state required NFPA inspections. I’m the person that reminds you & makes the things we HAVE to do less of a pain by working with you on budgets, schedules, your private insurance and/or local AHJ, city & state requirements. You’re not shopping for a vacation package or office supplies looking for the lowest bidder, you’re seeking a critical required service that protects & saves lives. I think the word “sales” leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth that’s why I prefer “provider”. I believe life safety should accommodate your budget while still offering excellent customer service because it’s a necessity, not an accessory. The company you work with should be a reflection of that as should your personal ONE point of contact. I am a service provider working for you to assist with your budget, your schedule, answer your life safety questions, get you up to code & keep you compliant. You don’t want the runarounds when in need of an imperative service. You want one person, one number to call to say HELP & trust you’ll be taken care of. A little peace of mind knowing there is one less worry on your plate makes for a better day at work & home. When you shine, I shine!!