You are on page 1of 3

ArecyclingplantfireinGeorgiathatignitedinthewinterof2007providesachillingexampleof theimportanceofregularlymaintainedandinspectedfiresprinklers.Thefirebrokeoutina machineryroomandrapidlyspreadthroughouttheplant,activating75sprinklerheads.Itkilled onecivilianandcaused$7.5millionindamages.Aftertheinvestigationwascomplete,itwas determinedthatthereasonthefiresprinklersprovedineffectivewasbecausetheywerenot maintainedandhadnotbeeninspectedaccordingtotheNFPAschedule.Maintenance deficienciesincludedimpropersprinklerclearance,sprinklerrisersmodifiedtoallowtheuseof gardentypehoses,andthevalveswerenotfullyopened.Ifthewetpipefiresprinklerhadbeen inspectedquarterly,asistherequirementaccordingtoNFPA,thistragedywouldnothave happened. CausesofWaterBasedSprinklerFailure Anyfacilitytyperunsthesameriskwhentheirwaterbasedsprinklersarenotregularly inspectedaccordingtoNFPAschedulerequirements.

s.Powergeneratingplants,chemical processingplants,andheavymanufacturingplantsoftenchooseannualinspectionsbecause manyfireprotectionsystemsarerequiredtobeinspectedonanannualbasis;however,water basedfiresprinklersarerequiredtobeinspectedquarterly. ThetopreasonsforwaterbasedsprinklerfailureaccordingtoNFPA: 1. Systemwasmanuallyshutoffearly. 2. Wrongtypeofsystemforhazard. 3. Waterdischarged,butthewaterdidnotreachthefire. 4. Lackofmaintenance. 5. Systemcomponentsaredamaged. Fouroutofthefivetopcausesforfiresprinkler failurewouldbeaddressedwithregular inspections.Whenfacilitieschangethetypeof hazardtheyhouseorrenovatetoaccommodatean expandingornewbusinessventure,firesprinklers needtobetakenintoconsideration.Thechanges tothefacilitymayalterthefiresprinklerneeds, and,ifso,adjustmentswillneedtobemadeto provideadequateprotectiontothenew environment(2).Forexample,thesprinkler clearance(3)mayneedtobemodifiedto accommodatefacilitychanges.Duringquarterlyinspections,issuestwoandthreewouldbe foundandaddressedbeforetheproblemscauseacatastrophe.Whenarenovationistaking

1
QSR72201 2.11.13

place,itisrecommendedtoconsultafireprotectioncontractortoensurethatthefiresprinklers areuptocodewiththebuildingmodifications. Lackofmaintenance(4)anddamagedsystemcomponents(5)arealsoaddressedduring quarterlyinspections.Iftheinspectorfoundthatmaintenancewasneeded,itwouldbedone promptly,leadingtoasaferbuilding.Commonmaintenanceproblemsfoundmaybecorroded sprinklerheadsorpaintedsprinklerheads.Damagedsystemcomponentscanhappenaseasily asaforkliftbumpingasprinklerheadorashutteredbuildingswetpipesprinklerfreezingand crackingthepipe.Thedamageoftenhappenswithoutanyonesknowledgeandgoesunnoticed untilaninspectorfindsthedamageorafireeventhappens. QuarterlyInspectionRequirements|NFPA Quarterly:
Item Waterflow Alarm Devices - Mechanical Dry Pipe Valve Quick-Opening Device Dry Pipe Valve - Priming Water Dry Pipe Valve - Low Air Press. Alarms Fire Department Connection Hose Valves Hydraulic Nameplate Main Drain (when sole source of water is through a Backflow Preventer and/or Pressure Reducing Valves) Pre-action Valve - Priming Water Pre-action Valve - Low Air Pressure Alarms Pressure Reducing & Relief Valves Supervisory Signal Devices (except Valve Supervisory Switches) Valve Supervisory Devices Waterflow Devices (vane type, press switch, etc.) Activity Test Test Test Test Inspect Inspect Inspect Test Test Test Inspect Inspect Inspect Inspect Standard NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 NFPA 25 Table 5.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 5.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 5.1.1.2 5.1.1.2 13.1.1.2 Paragraph 5.3.3.1 13.4.4.2.4 13.4.4.2.1 13.4.4.2.6 13.7.1 13.5.6.1.1 5.2.6 13.2.5, 13.2.5.1, 13.3.3.4 13.4.3.2.1 13.4.3.2.13 13.5.1.1 5.2.5 5.2.5 5.2.5

2
QSR72201 2.11.13

QuarterlyInspectionsMadeEasy Quarterlyinspectionsmay seemlikeadauntingtask,but itcanbequiteeasywiththe rightresources.Manyfire sprinklercontractorsprovide inspectionservicesorcan recommendacompanythat canprovideinspectionsata reasonablecost.Whena contractorishiredtoprovide inspections,facilitieshavethe benefitofhavingaresource thatwilltracktheinspection schedulefortheplantand makesurethatfireprotection systemsareinpeakworkingcondition.Somehighqualityfiresprinklercontractorswillprovide inspectiontrainingforplantpersonneltoprovidethemtheopportunitytoinspecttheirown systems. BenefitsofQuarterlyInspections Remaininguptodateonquarterlyinspectionsprovidesmultiplebenefits.Moreoftenthan ever,theAuthorityHavingJurisdiction(AHJ)isenforcingquarterlywaterbasedfiresprinkler inspections.MaintainingtheNFPAschedulewillensurethatfinesareavoided. Anotherbenefitforquarterlyinspectionsisinsurancediscounts.Manyofthetopinsurers providediscountstopropertyownersbasedonthefrequencyoftheirinspections. Withregularlyscheduledquarterlyinspections,plantshavethepeaceofmindinknowingthat theirfireprotectionsystemwillbeintopconditionintheeventofafire.Protectpeople,plant, andproductionbymaintainingplantfireprotectionequipment.

3
QSR72201 2.11.13