Fire sprinklers have been protecting life and property for over 140 years. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that when building sprinklers operate in a fire, they are effective in controlling a fire 96% of the time.¹ They are one of the most effective fire suppression systems your business can have.
Not all sprinkler systems are created equal. The design and type of your sprinkler system matters. Every system should be specifically designed to meet the characteristics of the building and its contents. This includes building construction characteristics such as height, potential obstructions (beams, HVAC ducts, etc.), and occupancy hazards, storage considerations and the intended use of the building.
It is a good practice to have your property insurance carrier conduct a review of the fixed fire protection specifications, including blueprints and hydraulic calculations before systems are installed.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) – among others – has produced reference standards such as NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, to help properly design and install the appropriate fire sprinkler systems.
Maintain and Test Sprinklers
Fire emergencies usually occur without warning, so fire protection systems must be in good condition and ready to operate at all times. Be confident that these systems are ready to go by conducting regular inspections. Verify that:
- Alarms are in service.
- Control valves are open.
- Normal pressure exists in the sprinkler system.
- Testing has been conducted regularly in accordance with nationally recognized standards, such as the NFPA.
To help provide assurance that these fire protection systems will operate when needed, a detailed series of written inspection, testing and maintenance instructions should be developed and implemented. Nationally recognized standards like NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, as well as manufacturer’s instructions, can help you develop and conduct proper inspection, testing and maintenance procedures.
Special Extinguishing Systems
There are a wide variety of occupancies, each potentially having their own unique hazards. The following are examples of some special hazards that may require additional fire suppression systems beyond the general building sprinkler protection:
- Commercial cooking.
- Spray paint booths.
- Ovens handling flammable vapors.
- Printing presses.
- Flow coaters using flammable liquids and more.
Similar to general building sprinkler protection, the design, proper installation, inspection, maintenance and testing of special hazard fire suppression systems is critical for these to function as intended.
Fire safety preparedness and planning covers a broad range of people, processes and equipment. While this can seem rather daunting, Travelers property specialists help businesses like yours evaluate their risks and safety preparedness every day.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers can save lives when a small, contained fire occurs in your business. But different types of fire extinguishers fight different types of fire — and using the wrong one may make the fire worse. Would you know which to use? Learn more to help you be better prepared in case of a fire.
By Nacia Lipton – National Property Director, Risk Control – Travelers Insurance