As a business or commercial property owner, you have a responsibility to ensure the safety of anyone that passes through your premises. A crucial part of personal safety management is making sure your fire sprinkler system is properly maintained and functioning as intended.
Neglecting your fire sprinkler system could have serious consequences in the event of a fire, ranging from personal injury to structural damage and even collapse. Therefore, it’s prudent that you follow these recommendations to keep your fire sprinklers functioning and your fire safety systems in working order.
The Importance of Fire Sprinkler Maintenance
A properly maintained fire sprinkler system is critical for the safety of your building occupants and for preserving your property’s structural integrity. If unchecked, the following issues could arise.
Insufficient Fire Containment
When a fire breaks out, an active fire sprinkler system can extinguish or contain the flames before the fire department arrives, and even prevent the need for individuals to use a fire extinguisher. This can dramatically limit damage and prevent people from putting themselves in unnecessary danger, not to mention the prevention of injury or loss of life.
If your fire sprinkler system falls into disrepair or fails to function as it should, it may prove wholly ineffective in an emergency. Potentially, it could only partially activate, allowing a fire to spread more rapidly without proper containment. At worst, however, it could fail to spring into action, allowing the fire to spread at such a rapid pace that safety is more quickly compromised.
Fire Spreads More Quickly
As said above, the consequences of fire sprinkler system neglect can be catastrophic; building fires can potentially destroy entire structures and all of their contents. The costs associated with a severe fire like this go well beyond repairing the building or replacing the contents, not to mention the fact that business operations may be disrupted for an extended period.
By ensuring your fire system – including its valves, pumps, switches and fittings – is inspected, tested and maintained as recommended, you are investing in maximum fire protection and prevention. Taking some vital and straightforward steps in ensuring the integrity of your fire sprinkler systems is well worth the time, resources, and costs, particularly when you consider the possible financial repercussions that could burden you following an unchecked fire breaking out. You have an obligation to protect the property, assets, and people inside it, so your due diligence is imperative for preserving the stability of the building as well as life.
How to Check Whether Your Fire Sprinkler System is Working Correctly
Inspect and Test Components Regularly
At a minimum, you should have your fire sprinkler system inspected once a year by a certified fire safety technician.
They will check that all components like sprinkler heads, pipes, check and control valves, fire pressure switches, pumps and the control panel are in good working order. Any damaged or malfunctioning parts will be identified and either repaired on-site or put forward as a recommended remedial action for you to take. All defective, damaged, or broken parts should be replaced as soon as possible.
Maintain Proper Water Pressure and Flow
Your fire sprinkler system requires adequate water pressure and flow to operate effectively in an emergency. Water supply valves should always remain fully open and unobstructed, with pressure gauges performing to your system’s chosen specifications.
Test the water flow through the main drain valve annually to ensure it meets the minimum gallons per minute (GPM) requirement for your system size. If you cannot do this yourself, consider asking an accredited fire safety expert to run the water pressure test for you.
If water flow or pressure drops below the necessary levels, it indicates an issue like a blockage in the pipes that must be addressed immediately.
Inspect and Replace Sprinkler Heads
Fire sprinkler heads are the critical components that disperse water should a fire be detected. It’s worth inspecting your fire sprinklers for any signs of corrosion, obstruction, or damage, and ordering any replacement fire sprinkler heads if they are looking particularly worn.
Usually, however, sprinkler heads can function correctly for a good few years before succumbing to any damage, but depending on the product, some heads may need replacing sooner. For free advice about the longevity and durability of fire sprinkler heads, get in touch with Applications Engineering Ltd.
Test Emergency and Monitoring Systems
In addition to the fire system itself, any connected emergency or monitoring systems should be tested regularly. Ensure emergency pumps are regularly tested as per the manufacturers’ instructions. Monitoring systems should be checked every day to confirm they are still active and sending signals properly. A good recommendation is to check the system upon entry of the premises in the morning, and once more when exiting the property.
A professionally installed and properly maintained fire sprinkler system is the most effective way to protect your building and everyone inside from the devastating effects of a fire. By following these best practices for maintaining your fire sprinkler system, you can help ensure it will operate effectively in the event of an emergency and continue protecting your property and anyone inside for years to come.
Enterprise-Level Fire Protection Products Available
At Applications Engineering Ltd, we have been designing, supplying and installing high-quality fire sprinkler systems for over 20 years.
We specialise in producing and supplying parts for high-quality, professional fire sprinklers and safety systems, as well as intricate parts like solenoid valves and CPVC fittings. We are happy to provide advice on any concerns that you may have about any parts of your fire safety system.
Don’t leave the safety of lives and the structural integrity of your building to chance – contact us for a no-obligation chat with our certified and friendly team. We can ensure you have the most advanced, high-quality fire sprinkler system products and parts, so that your building is complying with all relevant fire protection guidelines and legislation, as well as preserving safety inside.