This month we will have a series of posts titled “The 12 Days of Fire Protection”. We will be sharing a daily fire protection guideline designed to educate you on different aspects of your fire protection system that you may not be aware of. Check back here daily to get tips that will help you manage your fire protection systems as efficiently as possible.
Day 1 – Check to see if your fire alarm monitoring uses analog technology
A lot of facilities utilize telephone lines for their alarm monitoring. POTS lines (plain old telephone systems) are being sunset very soon, leaving your fire alarm monitoring at risk. This technology is being sunset, which will leave thousands of facilities without monitoring capabilities. Upgrading to cellular or radio alarm monitoring is very easy. In some cases cellular monitoring is even cheaper than what you are paying now, since you can eliminate the need for a dedicated monitoring phone line.
Day 2 – Prepare your dry pipe sprinkler system for winter freezes
With the winter months upon us, your dry fire sprinkler system is at risk of possible freeze damage. Residual water can become trapped in isolated sections of your dry pipe sprinkler system. Special winterization precautions need to be taken. As part of your routine maintenance, we encourage you to take preventative measures against this. Freeze damage consists of residual water being trapped in isolated sections of sprinkler piping throughout your system. Not taking preventative action could lead to property damage, loss of productivity, and costly system repairs. Your life safety system could even become inoperable.
Day 3 – Know where your fire alarm equipment is located
A fire alarm system has many elements. The best way to stay knowledgeable about your fire alarm system is to know where all equipment is located in your building. There are several aspects of a typical fire alarm system. Below are a list of in-building emergency alarm equipment that you should know where it’s located. If you do not know, ask your Life Safety experts to identify each piece of equipment:
- Fire Alarm Panel
- Manual Fire Alarm Boxes
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Heat Detectors
- Duct Detectors
Day 4 – All fire extinguishers must be self-inspected monthly
According to OSHA standard 1910.157, employers must perform a visual inspection on portable fire extinguishers at least once per month. You must also keep a log of these monthly inspections and provide them to the Fire Marshal upon request. These internal monthly inspections are in addition to the required annual fire extinguisher inspections that are required to be performed by a certified fire extinguisher expert.
Day 5 – Know where your fire protection inspection reports are saved
Like the fire extinguisher inspection log, you also need to know where your certified inspection reports are saved. A Fire Marshal can ask for these reports at any time. Most fire protection companies have portals in place where customers can access these inspection reports. Knowing where these reports are saved will help you keep your inspections organized, on-time and ready to access with a moment’s notice.
Day 6 – Your fire pump needs to be tested weekly
NFPA 25 requires a weekly no-flow churn test for your fire pump. This allows for your fire pump to maintain an optimal running speed and helps prevent overheating. An electric fire pump should be run for 10 minutes each week, while a diesel fire pump should be run for 30 minutes each week. Have your fire protection experts demonstrate how to run these weekly tests the next time they are on location.
Day 7 – Know the location of your fire sprinkler shut off valve
Knowing how to quickly turn off your fire sprinkler system could come in handy one day. If there is ever a leak or a malfunction, turning the fire sprinkler shut off valve will stop water from flowing through your system. This will limit any potential water damage while you wait for your fire protection team to arrive on-site. To learn exactly where your fire sprinkle shut off valve is located and how to turn it off, ask your certified sprinkler expert for a demonstration.
Day 8 – Grease and oil must be removed frequently from your kitchen hoods
The NFPA has strict guidelines for keeping cooking ventilation systems clean. Frequently cleaning the grease and oil that can build up from cooking will help keep your kitchen hood safe and in-compliance. Also, depending on how much cooking is performed in your kitchen, your ventilation system may require semi-annual inspections by a certified inspector.
Day 9 – All emergency exit lighting and signs need to be inspected monthly
NFPA 101 requires all exit and emergency lights to be inspected each month. This inspection can be performed by an internal employee or a certified Inspector. These monthly inspections are in addition to the required annual inspection by a certified Inspector.
The monthly inspection consists of a 30 second test of all battery-operated emergency and exit lighting. This inspection is designed to ensure maximum visibility in the event of smoke or fire.
Day 10 – Do you have conventional or addressable fire alarms?
Do you know what type of fire alarm system you have? It largely depends on the size of your facility. Smaller buildings most likely have a conventional fire alarm system. These systems are activated when smoke is detected. An addressable fire alarm system is best utilized in larger facilities. Addressable fire alarms have an annunciator panel that identifies exactly which devices have been activated. Giving you a better idea of how to evacuate personnel and giving the fire department a better idea of exactly where the fire is located.
Day 11 – What do the different fire sprinkler inspection tags mean?
All states have different inspection tag requirements for sprinkler systems, but most states have similar color codes. These colored tags allow the Fire Marshal to quickly identify the compliance of the fire sprinkler system:
Blue/Green Tag – Signals that the system is fully compliant with the appropriate NFPA standard.
Yellow Tag – Signals that the system can operate appropriately, but there are areas of the system that may not meet full NFPA compliance.
Red Tag – Signals that the system should not be operational until any deficiencies can be repaired and brought up to compliance.
Day 12 – Plan next year’s fire protection inspections now
December is the perfect time to plan all of the next year’s fire protection inspections. Staying organized and knowing when each of your inspections are due will save you time and money next year. Contact your Life Safety experts to get next year’s inspections on the schedule.