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Fire Sprinkler Systems Freeze Prevention PSA

Post Date:01/25/2012

NEWS RELEASE
A Public Service Announcement from Bend Fire & Rescue
01/24/12

For More Information: Cindy Kettering, Deputy Fire Marshal

Phone: office 541-322-6383 pgr 541-693-6274

Building owners, residents, facility managers and building maintenance personnel that have fire sprinkler systems need to know now is the time to take the preventive measures to prevent fire sprinkler systems from freezing. Every year, when winter temperatures remain below freezing for a prolonged period of time, Bend Fire & Rescue responds to several fire sprinkler activations due to pipes freezing and breaking. By taking action now, costly damage can be prevented.

The main reason that sprinkler systems freeze and break is a lack of routine preventative maintenance. Ensure that all periodic maintenance has been completed. Contact your fire sprinkler service company to schedule service if it is past due. The frequency with which a system needs service can vary depending on the type of system that is installed. If you are uncertain what your sprinkler system needs, contact your local fire agency or a qualified fire sprinkler professional.

Frequently, the cause of a sprinkler system freeze is inadequate heating, particularly in vacant buildings or suites. While there are a few sprinkler types designed to operate in cold temperatures, the majority of fire sprinkler pipe must be installed in areas that can maintain a minimum temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your heating and ventilation systems are in good working order. Ensure that thermostats are not set below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. When using supplemental heating equipment utilize only equipment that is listed and approved for its intended use. Always provide at least 3 feet of clearance when using portable space heaters.

If you have had any recent maintenance repairs or remodeling that may have compromised the insulation above ceilings, check those areas to ensure that the insulation has been reinstalled correctly. Frequently insulation may be removed to accommodate a repair and restoring it to the original condition is often overlooked. Properly insulated and heated areas will prevent your sprinkler system from freezing. Low temperature alarms may be used to alert responsible parties, particularly in normally unoccupied areas. That way, if heating equipment fails or the area otherwise drops below 40 degrees, the cause of the failure can be corrected before pipes freeze.

These simple steps can prevent costly damage from fire sprinkler pipe breaks, not to mention time lost to restore your business back to full operation. Keep your business – and your sprinkler system – in good working order: check your fire sprinkler system today. Call your service company to schedule maintenance. Check your heating and ventilation system. Use safe heating practices. For more information, contact your local fire department or look in the yellow pages under “Sprinklers – Fire”.

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