Fire Sprinkler Inspection Requirements
In 2017, there were 1,319,500 fires in the US.
That same year, more than 14,000 people were injured as a result of fires. By following proper fire and safety codes, you can help reduce the number of people injured in the case of a fire.
A big part of fire safety is performing a regular fire sprinkler inspection. To keep your building as safe as possible, you should understand how inspections and testing are regulated as well as how often they should be performed.
Keep reading to learn all that and more in this guide to fire sprinkler inspection requirements.
Fire Codes Related to Fire Sprinkler Inspection
The National Fire Protection Association has published more than 300 consensus codes related to fire safety. The purpose of the codes is to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other related risks. Almost every process, design, building, service, and installation is impacted by at least one of these NFPA codes.
Local fire codes are regulated by NFPA 25. NFPA 25 sets best practices when it comes to inspecting, testing, and maintaining your fire sprinkler system and any other water-based fire protection system. Local codes may also be shaped by The Internation Building Code. States and jurisdictions may also place their own regulations on top of these standards or have no state code at all.
Fire Code Documentation
To ensure you’re following fire code standards, a local Fire Marshal or Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) can legally ask you for evidence. If you’re asked to provide documentation, you’ll need to show proof that the required fire sprinkler inspection and testing have been done according to schedule.
For that reason, hold onto any documentation related to testing and inspecting. You should keep these records for at least one year after testing and inspecting has taken place.
Fire Sprinkler Inspection Versus Testing
While often used interchangeably, fire sprinkler inspection and fire sprinkler testing are actually two very different things.
A fire sprinkler inspection involves a visual inspection. A trained technician inspects your sprinkler heads and looks for any signs of damage, leakage, and corrosion. They’ll also check that the sprinkler has enough clearance, isn’t obstructed by anything, and is oriented in the right way.
On the other hand, fire sprinkler testing involves testing the function of the fire sprinkler system. A technician tests water flow and pressure, the alarm panel, as well as other components of the fire sprinkler.
How Often Do You Need to Test and Inspect a Fire Sprinkler?
Fire sprinkler inspections are usually needed annually, semiannually, quarterly, and, in some cases, monthly. You’re required to have inspections and tests performed based on the local code in your geographic region. Factors such as building occupancy as well as the type of sprinkler system may also impact that schedule.
In addition, there are testing schedules you need to adhere to. Below, we break down the typical testing and inspecting schedules.
Fire Sprinkler Inspection
According to NFPA 25, a wet pipe system should be inspected at least once per month. A pre-action, deluge or dry system should be checked every week.
The alarm devices, including both the water flow alarm and the valve supervisory alarm, should be checked once every three months. At the same time, check the control valves, supervisory signal devices, and the hydraulic nameplates.
Once per year, there should be an inspection of the pipes and fittings, spare sprinklers, hanger bracing, and any information signage on your system. And you’ll only need to have the sprinkler piping inspected internally once every five years.
Fire Sprinkler Testing
Testing your fire sprinkler system is more in-depth than an inspection. While an inspection generally involves more of a visual check, fire sprinkler testing involves physical checks that the system is working.
Once every three months, fire sprinkler mechanical devices should be tested by a professional. Every six months, the vane and pressure switch type devices should be tested.
Full tests of the fire sprinkler system only need to be conducted once per year. This annual test involves physically checking and testing all components of this system. Technicians will test your water flow, fire pump, antifreeze contention, alarms, and trips.
If you live in an area where your sprinkler system is exposed to more extreme clients, you might also consider having sprinklers and gauges replaced. And if you’re using a dry sprinkler system, you should think about replacing sprinklers and gauges at least every ten years.
Why Is Fire Sprinkler Inspection Important?
There are several reasons why you should be regularly inspecting and testing your fire sprinkler system. We’ve listed the top three in more detail below.
It’s The Law
You’re required to inspect and test your fire sprinkler system by the NFPA. The NFPA also requires that these inspections are performed by a licensed inspector. If you don’t comply with those regulations, you might be subject to fines and citations.
Fire sprinkler systems are intended to keep you, your family, staff, customers, and/or community safe in the event of a fire. It’s not enough to install a system, you have to ensure that it works properly in the case of disaster.
Whether your system is in your home or place of business, it’ll keep your belongings safe in the case of a fire. A fire sprinkler system can minimize damage to expensive or irreplaceable items. But your system is only capable of doing so if water flow, pressure, and all of yo ur valves are working correctly.
More On Maintaining Your Property
A fire sprinkler system isn’t just installed and forgotten about. In the event of a fire, you need to be sure that it’s going to perform. That’s why fire sprinkler inspection and testing is essential to protecting your property and the people that reside in or use that property.
And for more tips and advice on maintaining and protecting your property, be sure to check out our blog.