Over the next several weeks I will be posting about Fire Protection Systems. The hope is we all can gain a better understanding of what is out there, the benefits of and our role in water suppression/control systems.
This picture is of a large commercial building of Non-Combustible construction. As you can see here they have three (3) sprinkler systems, a water flow alarm, fire department connection and a hydrant. What does this picture tell you?
Exterior views can tell you information of the type of system this building has.
If you need to enlarge this image to see the elements please click the image.
The first element we see is the hydrant in the foreground. Based on its proximity to the building, is it part of the public or private system? If it is public, then this is a great hydrant to use when supporting the system. However, if its part of the private ring header, will you only be taking available water away from the risers?
The next element we see are the three Wall Post Indicator Valves (Wall PIV). Each one of these hand wheels controls the main valve for each one of the sprinkler risers. They all protect different areas of the structure, yet are still in close proximity to each other. If more systems are needed they will install them closer to the area they are designed to protect. Only close the valve required and only when directed by the IC. We also see that these are locked with a chain. Do not cut the lock! Cut a link in the chain. Once the key holder arrives we can reuse the chain and secure it with the same lock. Little things like this provide great customer service.
The Fire Department connection also stands out. You will want to investigate this further as not all FDC’s are equal. A FDC may be sprinklers only, standpipes only or both. The cap, a label or another sign should indicate what the connection is for. If no indication exsist, contact the grounds manager ASAP during the pre-planning phase to have this corrected.
The final element we see is the water flow alarm, in this case a bell or gong. If/when the system actuates the flowing water will cause this alarm to sound. Depending on how it is set up, several actions may occur. The alarm may only be local, indicating a system is flowing and will the give the general area. The water flow may initiate a global alarm telling everyone in that building to exit. This may also be tied into a system that initiates a fire department response.
Knowing and understanding fire protection systems enables you to set up, control and manage an operation at an incident with a system. The owner of the building felt that the contents were worthy of installing the system so we should honor that decision by using them. Fire Protection systems do not reduce the need for a fire department response, they only enable us to better serve the public.
For an overview of Fire Protection check out this link – http://firetrainingtoolbox.com/modules/protection/index.html
More information about sprinkler heads – http://firetrainingtoolbox.com/heads.pdf