If you own a commercial property, you wouldn't want to discover that your fire protection system is faulty when your building flames. By then, you will have lost everything you seek to protect: years of work, expensive equipment, and your fire protection system. All you will have left is a lot of paperwork and the regret that you did not mitigate fire hazards.
Even though fire protection systems like fire sprinklers last years, they do need regular commercial fire sprinkler inspections. A regular inspection ensures the protection system can only work effectively once it breaks down. After that, any small fire will be able to engulf your entire building.
If you need a professional for commercial fire sprinkler inspections, hire a fire protection contractor like us at A-1 Fire & Security Equipment. We can ensure that your fire sprinklers and fire protection system are maintained, updated, and in line with all needed federal, state, and local codes.
Moreover, fire protection services can prevent small problems from growing in scope. Most people need help understanding the intricacies of a fire protection system. But professionals do. They have worked with fire protection tools for years, and they can resolve a problem before disaster strikes.
What to Expect During a Commercial Sprinkler Inspection?
To ensure your fire sprinkler system is ready to protect your building, you must schedule annual commercial fire sprinkler inspections with a qualified contractor. A fully licensed and certified fire sprinkler inspection specialist will have the training and tools to ensure your fire sprinkler system operates properly.
To help you plan for your next inspection, here is a look at what happens during a typical fire systems inspection.
Look for Physical Damage
One of the most critical components of commercial fire sprinkler inspections is a physical check for any signs of damage to your sprinkler system. Your contractor will take the time to look at each water flow alarm, relief valve, check valve, main control valve, and sprinkler piping.
If physical damage is detected, the sprinkler system must undergo immediate repairs. They will provide you with a deficiency report and a proposal for necessary repairs.
Check Extra Sprinkler Heads
Along with checking the physical condition of your fire sprinkler system, your technician will also need to verify that you have extra sprinkler heads in place. If a sprinkler head is damaged, you will need an extra supply of sprinkler heads on hand so that the damaged one can be replaced immediately, quickly putting your system back into service.
Test of Main Drain Line
A wet fire protection system must be provided with adequate water supply at all times. During your fire sprinkler suppression inspection, a technician will ensure that your main drain line achieves the proper water flow. If inadequate flow or pressure is detected, they must verify that supply valves are fully open, and new water supply piping may need to be installed.
You should instruct fire protection professionals to execute the above checks within the timeframes mentioned and expect your outside technicians to offer additional support.
For starters, They must point out any conditions that could compromise the performance of any electrical or mechanical components of the system.
Furthermore, all good fire testing and inspection companies should provide a complete report of works undertaken by their technicians, including explanations of recommendations for corrective actions to comply with fire standards.
Importance Of Commercial Fire Sprinkler Inspections
A commercial fire sprinkler system is one of your business's most effective protections against a devastating fire. NFPA research indicates that sprinklers help:
- Lessened the impact of fires: Fire death rates were about 90% lower, and fire-related injuries were 27% lower once sprinklers were installed.
- Control fires: In 77 percent of fires where sprinklers were performed, one sprinkler was usually enough to bring a fire under control. In 97 percent of fires, five or fewer sprinklers are activated. And where flame damage happened, it was confined to the area or room of origin in 95 percent of fires, protecting the rest of the property.
- Reduce loss: Sprinklers operate in over 90 percent of fires large enough to activate them. And of those instances, sprinklers controlled 96 percent of the fires. In addition, the average loss in a facility or building with sprinklers is up to 68 percent lower than in buildings without them. That is because smoke damage is limited, and the water damage produced by sprinklers is far less expensive than that caused by professional firefighting equipment.
Inspecting Your Fire Alarm And Other Equipment
While having your fire sprinkler system inspected, you must also complete your company's fire alarm inspection.
To ensure the fire alarm works as it should, it must be inspected and tested regularly. Two technicians will be required to perform this task. One technician will remain at the fire alarm panel while the other goes throughout the building and on different floors to inspect and test the important fire protection products. This can include pull stations, smoke detectors, fire alarms, fire alarm horns, and strobes.
The tech stationed at the fire alarm panel checks to ensure the panel is triggered and activated each time one of these products is tested. If something fails to trigger the panel, that equipment must be repaired or replaced to pass inspection. This would also be a good time for any fire extinguisher maintenance.
How Often Should Fire Sprinklers Be Inspected?
Sprinkler systems are made of many parts, encompassing all manner of gauges, switches, and pipes. These need inspecting at different intervals to make sure they are fit for purpose.
Below are the recommended inspection intervals for the different elements of a sprinkler system:
The gauges are a crucial aspect of any sprinkler system, and therefore they have to be checked in dry, pre-action, and deluge systems as much as once weekly to ensure they are fit for purpose. A wet pipe gauge can go a month without needing another inspection.
Once every three months, you'll need more extensive inspections, including water flow alarm devices, control valves, valve alarm devices, signal devices, hydraulic nameplates, and fire department connections.
This is where inspections will examine pipework and fittings, hangar/seismic bracing, signage, and sprinklers.
Every Five Years
It's recommended to thoroughly inspect all internal pipework relating to the sprinkler system, check for any blockages, and service where needed.
A routine inspection of your fire sprinkler system will guarantee the safety of the building and comply with your building maintenance plan. On average, around 80% of all small businesses that experience a tragic fire fail to reopen because the damages are too expensive.
To protect your business and the people who work for you, it is essential that you closely follow a commercial fire sprinkler inspection schedule for testing and maintenance of your system. Doing so will ensure your investment remains safe and protect your employees, customers, and anyone entering the building.