F.E. Moran Fire Protection uses NFPA 25 as the guide for inspection, testing, and maintenance requirements. Their goal is to extend the life of fire sprinklers and ensure that they work optimally.
Inspections happen weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, 3-years, and 5-years. However, on-site maintenance staff can conduct weekly and monthly inspections with a small amount of training.
Quarterly inspections and beyond are best left to the experts. Below we explain what to expect during these more thorough inspections.
According to NFPA 25, all facilities that have fire sprinklers are required to have quarterly inspections. Generally, facilities that are accredited through the Joint Commission for deemed status purposes, like hospitals and senior care facilities, more often are required to get quarterly inspections.
During a quarterly inspection, seven items are required to be inspected every three months.
1. Inspect valves to ensure they are in the proper orientation and they are either locked or have tamper switches in place.
2. Inspect wet and dry gauges.
3. Inspect water flow and supervisory alarm devices for any damage.
4. Test the water flow alarm on wet and dry sprinklers.
5. For hydraulic sprinkler systems, inspect the hydraulic nameplate to ensure it's legible and securely attached to the riser or nearby.
6. Visually inspect fire department connections for accessibility, damage, debris, caps, and chains.
7. Inspect pressure-reducing and relief valves.
The annual inspection is arguably the most important. Everything that is inspected at the quarterly inspection is inspected at the annual with four additional items. The point of the annual inspection is to verify all components are tested and function as intended. However, this inspection does not verify the adequacy of the design.
1. Sprinkler heads, pipes, and fittings are inspected from the floor level.
2. Evaluate supply of spare sprinkler heads and appropriate tools.
3. Inspect dry-pipe valves.
4. Water flow test
Sprinklers are inspected for
- empty bulbs
- clearance below sprinkler
Owners are responsible for
- maintaining temperature in the building
- providing access for inspection, testing, and maintenance
- notification of shutdown
- corrections or repairs
- ensuring hazards haven't changed
- maintaining records
The three-year inspection is specifically for dry-pipe and pre-action fire sprinklers. The inspection includes a full trip test and inspection. On the day of a three-year inspection, you should expect:
1. Water filling the dry-pipe or pre-action system.
2. The system is inspected for clogs and/or leaks.
3. The sprinkler system is drained.
The inspection and test simulate the activation that would happen during a real fire to ensure that the sprinkler would activate correctly.
The five-year inspection is an internal inspection. In this inspection and test, the inspector will look at check valves and inspect pipe to look for corrosion. Below are the steps to expect.
1. An internal inspection is completed on the system valve, riser, cross main, and branch line. They seek out corrosion or obstructions.
2. Pipes are drained, and internal components are cleaned, repaired, or replaced.
3. Inspection is performed on every other wet system and every dry system. If foreign matter is found, all systems are checked.
4. After the foreign matter is found, a flushing will take place which clears all foreign matter from the system.
Fire Protection Testing
Fire sprinkler testing happens frequently. During each inspection – weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, 3-years, and 5-years – some level of testing happens. The test ensures that the sprinkler is ready to activate if a fire were to ignite.
The tests look for leaks, clogs, and corrosion.
The customer's Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will identify how often fire sprinklers need to be tested.
Fire sprinklers protect property, people, and business. Keep fire sprinklers in top shape to protect your most valuable assets.