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Fire Protection Equipment

Sprinkler Protection from Corrosion

In the beginning there was brass and it was good. Brass while a good metal for use in water, is was not suitable for corrosive atmospheres found in some industrial facilities.

I live near the coast in Florida and have seen many sprinklers installed in areas such as parking garages, apartment breeze ways, etc. All a nice shade of green. My company makes good money replacing heads in places such as this. Early on in the sprinkler industry they discovered this and worked to develop finishes and coating to protect against corrosion.

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Installation of a Water Flow Switch

The Water Flow Switch is mounted on a wet-pipe system only. The water flow in the pipe deflects the paddle. The deflection of the paddle produces a switched output. All detectors will activate on a continuous flow of water greater than 10 gallons per minute (gpm) but will not in subtle surges of less than 4 gpm.

Information from Potter Electric Water Flow Alarm Switch Installation Guide:

“The units should not be installed within 6″ (15cm) of a fitting which changes the direction of the water flow or within 24″ (60 cm) of a valve or drain.”

The Water Flow Switch should be mounted 6 to 7 feet above the floor to minimize the switch from being damaged.

Below are two pictures of a Wet Pipe Sprinkler Riser, One was installed properly and the other is “WRONG”.

Wet Pipe Sprinkler Riser

Incorrect Installation

Wet Pipe Sprinkler Riser

Correct Installation

I’ve been in the fire protection business for many years and when I see something like this it makes me mad. I cannot believe that a fire protection contractor can let this happen, then the AHJ approved it. I hope by showing the correct and incorrect ways of installation of fire protection equipment will help us all.

Fire Extinguishers – Recharge or Replace?

This is a guest post by Nick at Guardian Fire Protection. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.

A fire extinguisher that’s not properly charged is just as dangerous, if not MORE dangerous, than not having a fire extinguisher at all. One thing many people don’t know is that fire extinguishers that have been used at all should be considered empty and should be either recharged or replaced – regardless of how much extinguishant was actually sprayed out! So now that you know when your fire extinguishers need to be serviced, the question remains: should they be recharged or replaced?

A good fire extinguisher should last you up to 12 years or more, provided you keep up with proper maintenance. What this means as long as the shell holds up, you should be fine with just having your fire extinguisher refilled and letting it live its life. However, if you want the best (and most economical) fire protection, you’re usually better off letting your fire protection company replace the extinguishers! Fire extinguishers are generally not expensive (refilling them is often the same cost as replacing!) and getting brand new fire extinguishers is the easiest way to guarantee that you’ll be completely protected from fires.

Note: the above applies only to fire extinguishers that have been used. If your fire extinguisher is slowly losing charge even though you haven’t touched it in a while, you may have a leak or a small crack in the shell – both things that would require fire extinguisher replacement.

When else should you have your fire extinguishers replaced?

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How to Perform a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspection

This is a guest post by Nick at Guardian Fire Protection. If you would like to Guest Post, check out the Guidelines here.

There’s nothing more important than having well-maintained fire extinguishers in your building – the keyword being “well-maintained”! It’s important to have your fire extinguishers professionally inspected once a year, but it’s arguably MORE important to inspect them yourself every month! Fortunately, it’s hard to go wrong with your monthly fire extinguisher inspection – it’s actually pretty easy.

Monthly Fire Extinguisher Self-Inspection

Monthly fire extinguisher inspections don’t need to be exhaustive – just a quick check over should be fine. And while they should not take the place of professional fire extinguisher inspections, they should definitely supplement them. The important things to check during your monthly fire extinguisher inspections are:

  • Accessibility – make sure your fire extinguishers are where they are supposed to be and are easily visible and accessible during a fire. Make sure they are kept within 25 ft of an exit and are not located in corners.
  • Physical condition – make sure that the pin in the extinguisher head is intact and the tamper seal is not broken. Also check the condition of the extinguisher shell, hose and nozzle for signs of obvious physical damage, corrosion or leakage.
  • Pressure gauge – make sure the needle on the pressure gauge is in the green –this will let you know that the extinguisher pressure is good. Also, lift the fire extinguisher to make sure it’s full, just in case.
  • Sign off – when you finish your fire extinguisher inspection, initial and date the back of the tag to state that you performed your fire extinguisher inspection. If you have any more fire extinguishers in your building, make sure you do the same thing for all of them.
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