How Do I Maintain My Fire Protection System?
Fire protection system maintenance primarily involves the upkeep of indoor sprinklers, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers. Having good fire detection and protection elements in any building, no matter the type or size, is extremely important.
Regular inspections are required by law. What the inspection involves varies depending on location. Maintenance is something you can do yourself as well, as you want to make sure that your fire protection system is working at all times.
Fire Sprinkler Systems
Keep in mind that sprinkler systems are designed to suit a building’s conditions. If your building has undergone any renovations since the system was built, it may need renovation itself. Any changes to a building, including changes in the water supply, can render the sprinkler system ineffective or useless.
It’s your responsibility to keep the system up to date. Through testing and inspections from knowledgeable professionals, you will find out if there is anything wrong with the sprinklers. The experts will help you determine whether or not your system requires any type of repairs or a full renovation.
Here are a few things you can do to help maintain your indoor sprinkler system:
- Never hang anything from the ceiling or cover the ceiling with any objects where the sprinkler heads are located.
- Never paint the sprinkler heads.
- Do not stack anything close to the heads. Stacked items should be at least eighteen inches below the ceiling.
- Check the tamper switches everyday to make sure that the the control valves are in open position.
- If you have a wet-pipe system, protect them from freezing with good insulation.
Smoke/Fire Alarms and Detectors
Another important part of fire protection system maintenance includes detection and alarm equipment. The alarms should be tested regularly, and the batteries should be need to be replaced at least once a year, depending on the type.
Here are a few maintenance tips:
- Make sure they are placed in the right places. There should be detectors on every floor, including the basement. Do NOT install them near draft areas such as vents or windows.
- Test the alarm at least once a month. You can do this simply by pressing down the test button.
- Keep the alarms clean. Dust them often. Do not paint over them.
- Smoke alarms should be replaced approximately one decade, unless they are damaged or defected. If this is the case, then they need to be replaced immediately.
Fire Extinguisher Maintenance
Any type of fire extinguisher in your building should be inspected regularly. If it works correctly, an extinguisher can put out a fire before it has a chance to spread. Since there are different types of extinguishers, it’s important that you and every employee knows how to use the type that is in your building.
Here are a few things you can do to keep the fire extinguisher(s) in good working condition.
- Check that the nozzle and hose are not damaged or hindered in any way.
- Make sure there are no dents, rust, dirt, etc… on the pump.
- If there is a pin and tamper seal, make sure they are intact.
- Check the pressure frequently to make sure that it is at the recommended level. If there is a gauge, the needle should not be too low or too high.
- If an extinguisher is used, it should be recharged immediately afterwards.
Fire protection system maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult. You can turn it into a regular routine. Having regular inspections makes maintenance easier as well.