SELF-INSPECTION PROGRAM FOR FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT

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1 SELF-INSPECTION PROGRAM FOR FIRE PROTECTION EQUIPMENT INTRODUCTION No matter how reliable fire protection equipment may seem, periodic maintenance is needed to ensure proper operation. Fire protection equipment requires both periodic maintenance for reliable operation and frequent inspections of such items as sprinkler control valves to verify the open position. Fire protection systems are not an integral part of school operations and are often taken for granted or only inspected on an annual basis. Each year, shut sprinkler control valves, plugged sprinkler piping and inoperative fire pumps result in millions of dollars in loss of property, business, jobs and life. If automatic sprinkler systems, fire pumps, portable fire extinguishers, fire doors, etc. are installed in your district they should be inspected, tested and maintained in accordance with the applicable NFPA National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard (NFPA 25 covers details of inspecting and maintaining automatic sprinkler systems). NFPA 25 has been adopted by most state and local authorities as the standard for their local fire inspectors to use during visits. An effective self-inspection, maintenance and testing program for fire protection equipment will require several essential elements: management's cooperation in backing an effective program, trained personnel to implement the program, tailored inspection forms customized to the school and a standard which outlines necessary steps for maintaining equipment and frequency of conducting maintenance and tests. The guidelines below will assist in your efforts to establish an effective and proactive self-inspection program. ELEMENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE SELF-INSPECTION PROGRAM Trained Staff Designated To Establish And Implement The Program The responsibility for supervision of fire protection systems rests with administrators and designated personnel responsible for the equipment. Employees responsible for system supervision should be familiar with fire protection equipment and know how to operate equipment during an emergency (verify necessary sprinkler control valves are open in the fire area, know how to start and maintain fire pumps, etc.). If your district has several sprinkler systems, it is important that an up-to-date sketch be maintained showing the location of sprinkler control valves. Proper records should be maintained of inspections. Alternate personnel should be available to make fire prevention inspections when the designated individual is ill or on vacation. District administrators should support prompt repair of equipment when deficiencies are noted. If a maintenance person is not available and the services of a contractor are to be used to perform maintenance and tests, the contractor should furnish a written report. The report should include completed self-inspection forms. A district employee should accompany the contractor during the test to become familiar with the equipment in the event equipment must be operated during an emergency. A contract with a sprinkler contractor should not reduce the frequency of recommended inspections or change the need for other recommend maintenance practices outlined in NFPA 25. 1

2 Locking Sprinkler Control Valves All fire protection system control valves larger than 1 1/2 inch or those controlling more than five sprinklers should be provided with a form of supervision. Inside valves can be sealed open and inspected weekly. Valves outside the building can be provided with breakaway locks and tamper devices. Self-Inspection Forms Since the number, type and complexity of fire protection systems will vary depending on the size of your district, customized self-inspection forms are needed for sprinkler control valves, portable fire extinguishers, fire pumps, etc. Such forms not only serve as a guide for conducting inspections but also provide a method of proper record keeping. The inspector should carry the form and use it as a checklist. A sample form is provided at the end of this section. Marking and Identification of Equipment Sprinkler control valves should be numbered for inspection and identification purposes. The number listed on the valve should correspond with the number on the inspection form. A placard should be attached to automatic sprinkler risers indicating the number of the sprinkler valve controlling the riser. Valves should be plainly marked with the direction to open. If not marked by the manufacturer, a sign should be posted near the valve indicating direction to open. If underground curb box valves are used, a T wrench should be provided near the valve with a sign indicating location of the valve. Left-hand valves should be replaced with right hand operated valves. Frequency of Inspection Table 1 lists the recommended frequency for testing and maintenance of critical sprinkler system components. NFPA 25 also provides recommendations regarding the minimum recommended frequency for inspecting and testing fire protection equipment. As indicated in Table 1, the frequency of checking sprinkler control valves will vary from weekly for sealed valves to monthly for locked valves. The frequency of inspections listed are considered to be the minimum. 2

3 Table 1 Fire Protection Inspections Weekly Fire Protection Inspections Visually inspect all sealed and unlocked electrically supervised valves including post indicator, curb box, OS & Y and non-indicating gate valves. (The frequency of inspections for locked valves may be reduced to monthly.) Notes: (1) All sprinkler control valves should be locked open. If valves are neither locked, sealed or electrically supervised all post indicator valves, curb box and non-indicating gate valves should be physically tried for the open position on a weekly basis. (2) Physically trying a valve involves closing it a few turns then fully opening it to ensure a fully open position. Inspect condition of sprinkler heads. Heads should be checked to make sure they are not damaged or blocked by storage and have not been painted or otherwise impaired. Note: An 18-inch clear space must be maintained below sprinklers to assure an adequate discharge pattern. Monthly Fire Protection Inspections All Sprinkler Systems Inspect fire department connections. Connections should be accessible and visible at all times. Caps or plugs should be in place and threads clean, undamaged and lightly lubricated with graphite. The connection should be drained through the ball drip from the check valve to ensure it will not freeze. Physically try all post indicator, curb box and non-indicating gate valves for the open position (i.e. close the valve about three (3) turns and reopen). The following inspections and tests should be performed monthly. The results should be recorded on the monthly fire protection equipment report form. Repairs and corrective action should be completed promptly. a. Fire Extinguishers - Check all to be certain they are accessible, not damaged, hung properly and charged with the seal intact and ensure current annual inspection tag is in place. Initial this tag monthly. b. Sprinkler Control Valves - Check and test all sprinkler riser control valves, yard main divisional valves and water supply pit valves to make sure they are accessible, open and sealed or locked. Sprinkler control valves accessible to the public should be locked open. All other sprinkler control valves should be sealed open. c. Fire Hoses - Checked to ensure the hose is ready for use, mounted on its rack (or reel) with nozzle attached, and the hose should be visually inspected as to condition (creases are not worn or split, and there is no water in the hose). d. Fire Hydrants - Should be visually inspected to make sure they are unobstructed, undamaged and ready for use. e. Fire Department Connections - Check to see they are unobstructed, caps are in place and couplings are free to rotate. f. Fire Safe Conditions (1) Stairwells and corridors free of obstructions. (2) Emergency lights and exit lamps in working order. (3) Evacuation Drawings are posted. 3

4 (4) All flammable and combustible liquids and aerosol cans are stored in approved flammable liquid cabinets with the doors kept closed. Liquids stored outside of cabinets do not exceed one days supply or 25 gallons of Class IA liquids (flash point less than 73 o F or 120 gallons of Class IB, IC, II or III liquids (flash point less than 200 o F. Safety cans with self-closing lids are used for the handling and storage of small amounts of gasoline and other flammable liquids. Oxygen and acetylene cylinders are chained in the upright position, separated by 20 feet or a noncombustible barrier, and protective caps in place when not in use. (5) In sprinklered buildings, no combustibles should be stored in areas shielded from automatic sprinklers. (6) General Housekeeping There is no storage of flammable or combustible materials in electrical rooms or on electrical equipment. Waste combustible materials are kept in proper containers. In shops, used rags contaminated with grease, oil or solvents are stored in an approved fire can with a self-closing lid. Materials are kept clear of light fixtures and bulbs. Wire mesh guards are provided to protect bulbs and fixtures from damage where needed. Quarterly Inspections The following tests should only be performed by an experienced person. Prior to performing the following test, call your alarm company to alert them you are testing. Verify all alarms tested were received by the alarm service. These inspections may be contracted out. a. Sprinkler water flow - Test each sprinkler system water flow alarm by operating the inspector s test connection on wet pipe systems or the alarm by-pass valves on dry pipe systems. The alarm by-pass valve may be used on wet pipe systems. However, it is preferred that the inspector s test connection be used since this simulates the operation of one sprinkler. b. Valve Tamper Devices - Test each valve tamper device by turning each control valve three complete turns. c. Two-inch drain test - This involves noting and recording the pressure on the gauge on the lower side of the sprinkler valve (static water supply pressure). Open the 2-inch main drain fully; after the flow has stabilized, note and record the pressure on the gauge again (residual water supply pressure). Annual Tests Fire Extinguishers Annually, all fire extinguishers should be serviced by a fire extinguisher service contractor. Also, depending on the type of extinguisher, discharge and hydrostatic tests are required at specific intervals. The National Fire Protection Association Code 10 gives the recommended intervals for each type of extinguisher. The extinguisher contractor should be able to show you the test intervals for the extinguishers. All Sprinkler Systems a. Lubricate all valve stems. Graphite or graphite in light oil should be applied to the valve stem. The valve should be fully closed and reopened to test its operation and distribute the lubricant on the valve stem. b. Clean strainers if provided. This will generally involve shutting off the water supply and removing the strainer to clean it. Some strainers are self-cleaning and simply require rotation of the operating wheel. 4

5 Hydrants a. Inspect dry barrel yard hydrants to be sure the barrel is drained. b. Inspect wall hydrants to be sure the pipe to the outside outlets is free of water. c. All hydrants should be flow tested every three years to make sure they are working properly and to keep the threads and working parts free of foreign material. Fire Hose a. Hydrostatic test by a service contractor five and eight years after installation and every two years thereafter. 5

6 INSPECTION FORM SAMPLE 1 Automatic Sprinklers SPARE HEADS AVAILABLE? HEAT ADEQUATE TO PREVENT FREEZING (40 Min) (Note broken windows, etc.) MIN. TEMP. INSPECT THESE ITEMS AT LEAST WEEKLY SPRINKLERS OBSTRUCTED BY HIGH PILING (18-36 inch clearance) WATER PRESSURE (from sprinkler riser) LB. AT YARD LEVEL ANY HEADS DISCONNECTED OR NEEDED COMMENTS 6

7 INSPECTION FORMS SAMPLE 2 INSPECT THESE ITEMS AT LEAST MONTHLY MANUAL PROTECTION Extinguishers CHARGED ANY MISSING ACCESSIBLE ATTENTION NEEDED (GIVE LOCATION) Inside Hose IN GOOD CONDITION ACCESSIBLE Yard Hydrants & Hose CONDITION NO. 1 NO. 3 NO. 5 NO. 2 NO. 4 NO. 6 HYDRANTS DRAINED REMARKS HOUSEKEEPING Combustible waste removed on schedule? Combustible dust, lint or oil deposits on ceilings, beams or machines? ALLOWABLE IN. MEASURED IN. Describe areas needing attention: General Order & Neatness GOOD Electrical Equipment Maintain 3-ft. clearance from electrical equipment and combustible storage? Flammable Liquids Defects Noted Safety Cans Used Stored in Flam. Liq. Cabinet Excess Supply in Facilities Areas Smoking Regulations LOCATIONS WHERE VIOLATIONS NOTED: CORRECTIVE ACTION TAKEN: Hot Work PERMITS ISSUED FOR ALL HOT WORK APPLICATIONS Storage LISTED PRECAUTIONS TAKEN WELL ARRANGED AISLES CLEAR 7

8 CLEAR OF LAMPS, HEATERS (MIN. 36 IN.) Sprinkler Alarms (Fill out every 3 rd month/quarterly) Waterflow Alarm Tamper Alarm Tested? Tested? TIME FOR ALARM TIME FOR ALARM Main 2 in. Drain Test Static Residual Water motor gong work properly? OPERATION SATISFACTORY (If no, comment below) OTHER ITEMS NOTED: INSPECTED BY: DATE REVIEWED BY: TITLE: DATE 8

9 AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER VALVE INSPECTION DISTRICT SCHOOL DATE VALVE INSPECTIONS Visually inspect all locked valves monthly. All inside and outside valves controlling sprinklers or fire protection water supplies are listed below. Check the condition of the valve as found. Physically try gate valves including non-indicating and indicator post gate valves. Do not report a valve open unless you have personally tried it. Factory Mutual approved post indicator-valve assemblies, IBV s (Indicating Butterfly Valves) and standard outside screw and yoke valves do not have to be tried, but should be visually checked at close range. NO VALVE LOCATION AREA CONTROLLED OPEN SHUT LOCKED SEALED Were any valves closed since the last inspection? Yes No Was an Impairment Kit used? Yes No Was the valve(s) reopened fully and a 2 inch drain test made before the valve(s) was relocked or resealed? Yes No COMMENTS: 9

10 Fire Extinguisher Inventory DISTRICT SCHOOL DATE INSPECTOR No. Location Fully Charged Check lockpin and seal Inspected w/in last year? Problem(s) Found: Date Problem(s) Repaired: 10

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