Avoiding Freeze-Ups and Malfunctions of Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems

An automatic fire sprinkler system is one of the most important safety features in a building. By controlling a fire in its earliest stages, a sprinkler system can limit the spread of damage to a relatively small area, minimize disruption to operations and, most importantly, save lives. Moreover, sprinklers cause much less water damage than do fire department hoses.

In Canada, both National and Provincial fire codes require sprinklers to be installed in many types of new buildings, as well as buildings that are being repurposed and/or undergoing major renovations. A number of provinces also require older buildings to be retrofitted with fire sprinkler systems – for example, buildings that are used as schools and long term care facilities.

To ensure optimal performance, sprinkler systems must be properly installed and regularly maintained. A defective or impaired system can fail during a fire; it can also cause substantial water damage by leaking unexpectedly when there is no fire. When sprinkler systems become damaged or impaired, it is most often due to inadequate maintenance and testing.

Some knowledge of automatic sprinkler system design along with a formal testing and maintenance plan will help ensure that a system performs as intended and does not become a liability

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