A Useful Guide on the Fire Sprinkler System
One immediate source of fire protection to kick in during an emergency is the Fire Sprinkler System. When triggered by heat from a fire, sprinklers in the immediate vicinity are activated, automatically releasing showers of water over the fire. This automatic response saves lives and properties by extinguishing or controlling the spread of fire before fire-fighters arrive on the scene.
As this system plays a crucial role in the fire-fighting operations in buildings, the following regulations require buildings to have an operationally-ready and well-maintained Fire Sprinkler System:
Code of Practice for Fire Safety Precautions in Buildings
Code of Practice for Automatic Sprinkler System (SS CP 52)
NFPA 25: 2002 - Standard for Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-based Fire Protection Systems
NFPA 13: 2010 - Standard for the Installation of Automatic Sprinkler Systems
What kind of establishments require a Fire Sprinkler System?
Buildings with the classification of Light Hazard, Ordinary Hazard (OH Group 1/ 2/ 3/ 3 Special) and High Hazard (Category 1/ 2/ 3/ 4).
Who is responsible for the Fire Sprinkler System?
Building Owners and Council Members are responsible by regulation
Fire Protection Specialists, like BSE, MCST Managing agencies, and/ or technicians are engaged to assist Building Owners and Council Members
Basic features of the Fire Sprinkler System
A fixed installation of water supplied fire-fighting equipment in the building premise
Located at ceiling level for zones demarcated by the Professional Engineers (PE)/ Qualified Persons (QP) when designing the building to meet its fire safety requirements
Network of piping attached with sprinklers at regular intervals
Permanently charged with a reliable source of water supply (for the commonly used Wet Sprinkler System)
Other types of sprinklers include the Dry Pipe System, Pre-action System and Deluge System
What kind of maintenance will the Fire Sprinkler System need and how often?
According to regulations, the common frequency of inspection, testing and maintenance of the Fire Sprinkler System, including its fire pump systems in buildings, is MONTHLY. However, the regulatory testing of the Fire Sprinkler System is conducted ANNUALLY.
The inspection of the Automatic Sprinkler System and its equipment (for the commonly used Wet Sprinkler System) cover the following components:
Distribution and Range Pipes
Alarm Check Valve
OS&Y Gate Valve
Inspector’s Test Connection
Fire Pump Systems
Water Flow Detectors
Control Valve Assembly
Water Storage Fire Tank
Instruction Signages/ Information
For the monthly testing, Sprinkler Pumps are tested via the activation of the drain test valves.
For the annual testing and/or for new buildings, the Sprinkler System and its equipment undergo the Activation Test (sprinkler bursting) and/or the Waterproofing Test (water flow rate for static and running pressure).
Finally, defects are identified for recommendation and rectified in a timely manner.
Tips on having an optimum Fire Sprinkler System:
Ensure that RISER PIPES are properly INDICATED AND NUMBERED with the water flow directional area
Ensure that DISTRIBUTION and RANGE PIPES are charged with water supply without leakage
Ensure the SPRINKLER HEADS are not painted over or damaged
Ensure that the FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEM passes the regulatory tests for the building requirements with fully operational Fire Pumps that can provide the required water pressure throughout the pipes