Fire Sprinkler Maintenance Post Lockdown – 5 Important things to consider

Once we approach the idea of a release from lockdown it’s vital that you consider what could have transformed in the dormant buildings whilst we’ve been away.

As the Alpine Service Team have remained 100% operational over the UK some businesses could have taken your choice to pause their planned maintenance schedules as the facilities are empty.

We’ve gathered the thoughts of our internal technical experts for suggestions about some considerations to get where sites haven’t been fully maintained, checked or tested.

Listed below are 5 conditions that may arise from the pause in the standard tests and checks advised by LPS 1048 and may potentially compromise the operation of a fire sprinkler system.

1. Seized Pressure switches – unless regularly exercised pressure switches can stick causing several problems with the sprinkler system. Pressure switches installed on the pump initiation lines wouldn’t normally detect a drop in system pressure and would therefore not start the fire pump(s) avoiding the sprinkler system from operating. The pressure switches on the alarm type of the control valves wouldn’t normally send a sign to the primary fire alarm, impairing the detection of any presssing issues, either accidental fire or damage related.

2. Water Motor Alarms could possibly be seized – although seen by some as outdated technology the mechanical facet of a water pressure driven alarm can’t be overlooked as this will still give an audible signal if there is ever an issue with the building fire security alarm. It also enables a difficult check up on the alarm valves operational effectiveness during regular checks, this might not be possible having an inoperable alarm gong and motor because of failed or seized components.

3. System valves could possibly be stiffer to use or seized – water flow control valves which are seized or at the very least stiff would be a lot more difficult to close in case of an accidental discharge, potentially resulting in excessive water damage and mold if the flow of water can’t be stopped. Individual test valves seized will avoid the normal testing procedure being completed. Nevertheless the worst case is that the alarm valves might not open correctly preventing water from flowing in to the main sprinkler system in case of a fire situation.

4. Fire pumps could possibly be seized – As above, if the fire pump struggles to deliver water to the sprinkler system then your effectiveness of this system is eliminated. The capability to give a continuous flow of water at required pressure in line with the design parameters is paramount in the operation of the entire fire suppression system.

5. Undetected frost damage – we’ve endured a number of the coldest days on record in the united kingdom during lockdown. There’s a risk within closed sites that there could be frost damage to elements of the system, that could result in impaired components which could fail on time for standard operation. These components might not operate as designed and impair their capability to control a fire or anyway could cause water damage and mold within a facility in case of failure.

So, once we all turn to Spring for a go back to something more like the entire life we remember, we advise that your fire sprinkler systems are checked for impairments and correct operation by way of a competent engineer before reoccupation of buildings occurs.

To find out more on our design, project aftercare and management solutions please contact Louise Plant on 0161 791 4500, or l.plant@alpine or visit www.alpinefire.co.uk

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