Fire Alarm and Sprinkler System Inspection: What to Look For to Ensure Your Company’s Safety
Probably the most basic and most necessary safety device in your commercial establishment is your fire alarm. Coupled with a sprinkler system, your fire alarm is your best defense against injury or death that could be caused by fires. Early detection and suppression of a fire can prevent catastrophic damage to property, equipment, vital records and inventory. To keep these essential safety systems functioning, they require regular testing, maintenance and adjustment. A regular program of fire alarm and sprinkler system inspections will ensure the reliable function of this critical equipment.
Fire alarm and sprinkler system inspections will help keep your safety equipment working properly when it is most needed. Inspections ensure that equipment is maintained within required standards, including state and local fire codes, laws and regulations. During an inspection, an expert in fire alert and suppression equipment will be able to carefully examine your fire alarm and sprinkler systems and correct any problems or malfunctions before they lead to breakdowns or functional problems when the system is needed the most.
Inspection, testing and maintenance of your fire alarm and sprinkler system is most likely required by your local building and safety authorities. Your inspector will not only be able to make sure your systems adhere to any local codes and requirements, but can also ensure compliance with broader standards such as the Life Safety Code/NFPA 25/NFPA 72, published by the National Fire Protection Association.
What should an inspection service be able to do?
When searching for an inspection service to take care of your facility’s fire alarm and sprinkler system, you should look for a company that can demonstrate the following characteristics:
- Proven experience as a fire alarm and sprinkler system inspector
- The ability to install, maintain and repair fire alarm and sprinkler systems as well as inspect them
- The willingness to provide and adhere to a detailed quote for inspection services
What should an inspector be looking for?
- Basic function and performance that ensure the fire alarm and sprinkler system is unlikely to become disabled and is always ready to respond during a crisis
- Changes in local water pressure that could affect the delivery of water during a fire
- Changes in local water quality that could affect equipment
- Electrical surges or fluctuations that could damage electronic components of the system
- Environmental damage and wear
- New construction, fixtures or lighting within the building that could interfere with sprinkler coverage
- Reliable battery systems that exclude aging batteries
- Components and controls that are nearing the end of their functional life and need to be replaced
Microbiologically induced corrosion
Inspectors should pay particular attention to the possible effects of microbiologically induced corrosion (MIC) on your sprinkler system. MIC can be very harmful to the pipes in your sprinkler and occurs when naturally occurring microbes in the water start consuming and damaging the pipes from the inside out.
Signs of microbiologically induced corrosion include:
- Small, pinhole-sized leaks in the sprinkler pipes
- Discolored water, usually black or red, coming from the sprinkler pipes during draining, testing or normal function
- A bad odor like that of rotten eggs traceable to the sprinkler pipes or the water coming from them
In untreated pipes, MIC can occur when microbes in the water literally start eating the pipe from the inside out. The damage causes thinning of the pipes, small leaks and other structural damage that could cause the pipes to burst and fail when they are pressurized. If this occurs during a fire, the results could be devastating.
Sprinkler pipes can be treated with substances that will kill the damaging microbes and keep your fire-suppression system undamaged and functional.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information about fire alarm and sprinkler system inspections and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!
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