Fire sprinklers are among the safest, quickest, and most successful interventions to snuff out a fire in a commercial or residential space. A 2021 report from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that sprinklers will operate effectively in more than 90 percent of the fires that activate them.
5 Common Fire Sprinkler Violations
Fire sprinklers must be installed correctly, free from any obstructions, inspected for maintenance issues, and repaired when necessary to ensure they function correctly. These measures can be life-saving—but overlooking them will put your entire building at risk. To keep you and your property safe, here are five common fire sprinkler violations to be aware of and how to avoid them:
1. Lapses in the Required Annual Service Inspection
While you can perform monthly visual checks on your own, it’s vital to coordinate a full-service fire sprinkler inspection at least once a year. If the sprinkler system goes without an assessment for more than 15 months, you’ll violate NFPA requirements. If you haven’t already, schedule an annual fire sprinkler inspection with a licensed professional. This phone call and visit will ensure your sprinklers are functional and compliant with the latest safety regulations.
2. Inaccurate Records of Each Inspection and Repair
An annual fire sprinkler inspection is crucial but doesn’t stop there. You should also retain accurate records of all inspections and maintenance repairs done on the sprinkler system from one year to the next. For example, plan to have at least three test reports on-hand for a system installed three years ago. That’s a good baseline requirement, but it’s always best practice to hold onto all your fire sprinkler inspection and maintenance records.
3. Objects that Directly Hang from the Fire Sprinklers
No matter how light an object is, do not attach it to a sprinkler head or pipe. Not only will this obstruct the water spray in the event of an actual fire, but it could also interfere with the device’s internal mechanisms. Although sprinkler systems emit a powerful flow when activated, their parts can be fragile, so it’s essential to leave them unencumbered.
4. Insufficient Clearance for the Sprinklers to Deploy
Lack of space between each fire sprinkler head is one safety hazard that might not immediately come to mind, but this violation can prevent the whole system from activating correctly. The NFPA mandates at least six feet of distance between all sprinkler heads (with a maximum of 12–15 feet apart). This safety precaution ensures that every sprinkler has the proper deployment clearance without interference.
5. Not Enough Sprinkler Heads for the Building Size
Most fire sprinklers have a coverage radius of about eight inches, so with a minimum distance of six feet between them, you’ll need enough sprinkler heads to protect the entire building. This issue isn’t typical for home sprinkler systems, as each room will often require just one or two sprinkler heads. But it’s something to be aware of in larger commercial spaces! If you’re a business owner who operates out of a brick-and-mortar location, confirm that you have the correct number of sprinklers installed.
Avoid these Fire Sprinkler Violations for Optimal Safety
From scheduling an annual fire sprinkler inspection to verifying that each sprinkler head is free of obstructions and interferences, it’s crucial to be sure the entire system is in optimal working order. If you need help minimizing these code violations and boosting safety precautions in your home or office, call the experts at A&A Fire Protection. We will conduct a thorough fire sprinkler inspection for you and perform other maintenance or repair services necessary. Our emergency line is also available to our customers 24 hours a day.