Will I get wet during the inspection?
We are asked this question frequently. We like to answer, “I hope not,” but the answer is “no.” The sprinkler heads located above you can only be activated by extreme heat/fire. We actually test the system by expensing water out of an inspector’s test valve (ITV). ITVs have the same-size orifice as a sprinkler head, so we are able to simulate a fire by opening up the valve and discharging water outside of your building. This test shows us the amount of time it takes for the “flow switch” to activate the alarm (within 60 seconds) and whether or not the system has any blockage.
Do I only need my Fire Pump tested annually?
Yes and no. The local Fire Department or authority having jurisdiction requires a full flow test once per year. However, we always use the analogy of “If we parked your car in the garage and returned a year later to start the engine… would it start?” Maybe, but this is not a good answer when we are talking about a piece of equipment that was installed to protect your employees and property. We recommend that you operate your fire pump at a no-flow condition every three months and, of course, perform a full-flow test once per year.
Why do I need coverage under an over head door?
When the door is in the open position it blocks the spray pattern of the sprinkler head located above the door. If a fire occurred underneath the door it would have to burn through the door to activate the sprinkler head. In less than thirty seconds a small, extinguishable flame can become completely out of control and turn into a major fire.
What is an escutcheon? And why do I need them?
Escutcheons are most commonly used for decorative purposes, but they are also used to reduce the protrusion of the sprinkler head below the surface of the ceiling. But rest assured, this does not adversely affect water distribution or sprinkler operation.
What is NICET?
The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) is a not-for-profit organization created by the National Society of Professional Engineers to serve the certification needs of the engineering technology community. Sprinkler inspectors are required by law to hold a Level 2 training certificate in order to test your systems. Visit the NICET website.
How do I know if I am due for an inspection?
A Valley Fire account manager can easily tell you when your systems are due to be tested. And once we’ve tested at your building, we will keep track of that information and remind you when your systems come due.
Do fire sprinklers go off accidentally?
No! Records show that sprinklers are very dependable. The chance of a defective head is less than 1 in 16,000,000 — less than your chance of winning the lottery. The chance of an accidental discharge is considerably less.
If one sprinkler head goes off, will they all go off?
In movies, they usually do, but the answer is no. Only the sprinkler head that experiences a certain degree of heat will activate the sprinkler system. In 95% of cases, it only takes one sprinkler head to fully extinguish a fire.
How does inspection affect my insurance rate?
Buildings which are completely sprinklered enjoy special reduced rates. However, if the insurance company does not receive verification of system inspection, penalties in the form of higher insurance rates apply.
The Insurance Services Office (ISO) publishes a Commercial Fire Rating Schedule (CFRS). Section 402 of the CFRS requires building owners to have annual inspections of sprinkler systems to enjoy the “sprinkled” insurance rate.
If an inspection is overdue by up to 12 months, a 5% penalty applies. If the inspection is overdue by 12-24 months, a 20% penalty applies. If an inspection is 24-36 months overdue, a 60% penalty applies. If after 36 months an inspection is still not performed, a fully sprinkled building is rated as “Un-sprinkled” for the purpose of insurance, with no credit allowed.
Check with your insurance carrier about the rate for your building. Even though it is fully sprinkled, you may not be getting as big a discount as you’re entitled to. Get your sprinkler system inspected and take full financial advantage of your fire sprinkler system.