Fighting Fire with Adequate Water

When fire strikes, business owners want to be sure their building’s sprinkler system is adequate to control and perhaps extinguish that fire.  Being sure involves a number or key items.

The sprinkler system design is one of those key items.  Buildings often change hands resulting in different occupants processing or storing different commodities.  If the building’s sprinkler system was originally designed for a low hazard occupancy and now the building is being used to process a higher hazard product, the sprinkler system may not be adequate for the exposure.  This may take the form of smaller pipe diameter and less sprinkler heads per square foot of space resulting in less than adequate water being expelled to control the fire.  An inadequately designed sprinkler system will simply not be able to control the fire.

Regularly scheduled testing and maintenance of the system is another key item business owners will want to be sure is in place for their property.  Hiring a sprinkler system maintenance firm will provide regular and routine inspection and testing of key operational components of the system.  The sprinkler system has mechanical parts that must be exercised to prevent corrosion or the system may seize and not work at all.  Such testing increases the likelihood that the system will function as intended.

Flowing water provides validation that there is water available to fight a fire.  Calculations are used to determine if it is enough to respond to an expected fire.  Flowing water also determines if there is enough water pressure and if that pressure is sustained.  That testing can also reveal if the water supply to the sprinkler system has been inadvertently shut off.  

When such conditions exist, finding ways to either get the sprinkler system up to an acceptable level of pressure or get water to the system is key.  Pressure can be boosted by installing a fire pump.  If water is shut off to a facility, finding the source of the closure and getting the system on-line becomes extremely important. 

Identifying the adequacy of the sprinkler system for the current occupancy and regular testing and maintenance of the system will go a long ways towards assuring the system will respond appropriately.  Water supplies and reliability change over time, particularly with new construction in the surrounding area.  Flowing water determines water is available, calculations determine if there is enough.  Pressure and volume can be boosted with a fire pump.

These are a few of the key items business owners should familiarize themselves with to assure their buildings sprinkler system will respond as needed.

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