Alt Title: Fire Suppression System Maintenance: All You Need to Know
Installing a fire suppression system can give you peace of mind and strongly reduce your losses if your business ever faces a true fire. But for your fire suppression system to work effectively, it needs to be properly maintained.
Why is fire suppression system maintenance so important? And how can you practice it correctly?
Why Fire Suppression Maintenance Matters
If you drive a personal vehicle, you already know why maintenance is important. Various moving parts in and on your vehicle will gradually degrade over time or decline in functional effectiveness, requiring you to replace them or repair them. If you don't do this, the problem will get worse, ultimately posing a safety hazard to you and anyone driving in your vehicle with you.
For fire suppression systems, maintenance is similarly important. Your fire suppression elements won't suffer as much wear and tear as the moving pieces of your vehicle, but there are still several points of potential damage to keep in mind:
· Environmental damage. If you have a fire suppression system in a business, you need to be aware of certain environmental hazards that could pose a threat to your systems. For example, if your fire suppression system is continuously exposed to moisture or certain types of chemicals, there's a chance it could degrade faster.
· Deterioration and decay. On some level, corrosion happens naturally. If you leave your fire suppression system in an isolated environment for long enough, eventually the entire thing will begin to deteriorate. The good news is that most of the components of your virus suppression system have the potential to last centuries, or even millennia. The bad news is that some of these components are much more sensitive to corrosion and decay.
· Building and system changes. You should also periodically maintain your fire suppression system if there are any major changes to your building or internal systems. Our fire suppression systems rely on dry chemicals and clean agents, but some sprinkler systems are much more sensitive to any changes in your internal plumbing.
Ultimately, if one or more elements of your fire suppression system suffer enough damage, you might end up with problems like the following:
· False discharges. Fire suppression systems automatically activate when they detect a fire, dispensing a suppression agent over the entire area. But if your suppression system isn't working correctly, you'll be more likely to experience false discharges in which the suppression system activates despite the lack of an evident fire. If you're using a clean agent, the damage from this won't be severe, but it is still an annoying mess to clean up.
· Delayed activation. If a fire does break out in your organization, you need that fire suppression system to immediately activate. Corrosion or deterioration could result in a delayed activation, allowing the fire to spread further than it would have otherwise.
· Improper discharge. Similarly, your fire suppression system could suffer from an improper discharge, failing to dispense the suppression material or dispensing it in a way that disallows it from working effectively.
Pro Fire Suppression Maintenance Tips
So what steps can you take to maintain your fire suppression system correctly and prioritize its core functionality?
· Purchase the right type of fire suppression system. There are many types of systems that can extinguish or mitigate the spread of fire in a building. Some of these are going to be better for your environment than others. Modular, portable, and standalone units tend to require far less maintenance than systems that are totally integrated into your building. Additionally, suppression systems that use dry chemicals and clean agents are less likely to cause significant damage in the event of a false discharge or similar failure.
· Hire an experienced technician. When you initially purchase your fire suppression system and when you maintain it, consider hiring an experienced technician. Sometimes, it's possible to do all the work yourself, but it's usually better to have an experienced set of eyes on this system.
· Visually inspect systems periodically. Even if you're not familiar with the inner mechanics of your fire suppression system, you can still conduct visual inspections periodically. Check to see if you can spot any corrosion or deterioration; if you do, make a plan to take care of it.
· Be aware of potential points of damage. If and when you notice any points of damage on your system, such as nicks, cracks, signs of corrosion, or irregular shaping, take note – and don’t procrastinate.
· Invest in an annual inspection. At least annually, you should conduct a thorough inspection of all the elements of your fire suppression system. Again, it's best to hire an expert for this. In certain environments, it may be wise to inspect and maintain your system on an even more frequent basis.
Other Fire-Related Maintenance Tips
While you're at it, make sure you're practicing other ongoing maintenance and best practices for fire prevention. For example:
· Test your alarms. Testing your fire alarms isn’t especially difficult or time consuming, even if you do all the work yourself. Most units have a button that allow you to conduct a test immediately.
· Update your routing when necessary. Are there any recent changes to your building? If so, it's important to update your emergency escape routes and educate your staff members accordingly.
· Invest in ongoing safety education. One-time safety education seminars are valuable, but it's even more valuable to invest in ongoing safety education. Reminders, updates, and new information will help your entire team stay safe and minimize the chance of a fire.
· Conduct fire drills routinely. Fire drills are common for a reason. They work. Conduct at least one fire drill every year to test all your systems (and the people in your building).
Fire suppression system maintenance shouldn’t be complicated or expensive. That’s why we designed our fire suppression system components to be as simple and hassle-free as possible. Take a look at our selection of fire suppression products – or if you’re ready to start building the system you need, contact us for a free quote today!