Did you know that if your building is protected by a fire sprinkler system you are required to have a stock of spare sprinkler heads?

NFPA 13 states (2010 6.2.9) “A supply of at least six (6) sprinklers (never fewer than six) shall be maintained on the premises so that any sprinklers that have operated or been damaged in any way can be promptly replaced.”

So what does this mean and why do I need them?

Fire sprinklers, like any other technology, have evolved tremendously. We have come a long way since the basic idea of automatically applying water to fire in an emergency. Sprinklers have become more effective and more specialized for specific needs. When choosing a sprinkler head the position in which it is designed to be installed, temperature rating, finish, thread size and orifice size are just a few of the variations. Today there are literally thousands of different styles, types and variations of sprinkler heads. It is important to replace a sprinkler with the exact type required and put the system back in service as quickly as possible.

Why can’t I just order a new one if I need one?

A sprinkler may need to be replaced for any number of reasons. For example it may be physically damaged, it may have become coated with a foreign material or it may have activated due to a fire. The area the sprinkler is protecting is now unprotected until it is replaced. Worse if the sprinkler is damaged and cannot hold pressure, the entire sprinkler system must be shut down and is rendered inoperable leaving the whole facility unprotected. The sprinkler must be replaced and the system put back in service as quickly as possible to protect life and property. Ordering a new one can take days or even weeks depending on availability of the type needed.

What exactly do I need and how many?

NFPA tells us;

“The sprinklers shall correspond to the types and temperature ratings of the sprinklers in the property.” (NFPA 13 2010

“The stock of spare sprinklers shall include all types and ratings installed and shall be as follows

                300 sprinklers or less = no fewer than 6

                300-1000 sprinklers = no fewer than 12

                Over 1000 sprinklers = no fewer than 24” (NFPA 13 2010

“The sprinklers shall be kept in a cabinet located where the temperature to which they are subjected will at no time exceed 100 deg.” (NFPA 13 2010

Typically this is a red metal or plastic box mounted near the sprinkler riser. As stated above at least one of each type and temperature is required however two of each is suggested.

Is that all I need?

Almost. NFPA also states;

“One sprinkler wrench as specified by the sprinkler manufacturer shall be provided in the cabinet for each type of sprinkler installed to be used for the removal and installation of sprinklers in the system.” (NFPA 13 2010

With all the different types of sprinklers you need to be sure to use the appropriate wrench to install them. Using something other than the approved wrench may cause damage to the sprinkler head rendering it in-operable or may cause it to fail.

In addition to the spare sprinklers and wrench(s). “A list of sprinklers installed in the property shall be posted in the sprinkler cabinet.” (NFPA 13 2010

“The list shall include the following;

                Sprinkler identification number (SIN) if equipped or the manufacturer model

 Orifice size

 Deflector type

 Thermal sensitivity

 Pressure rating

                General description

                Quantity of each type to be contained in the cabinet

                Issue or revision date of the list.” (NFPA 13 2010

A properly stocked spare sprinkler cabinet is a critical component of your fire sprinkler system. This along with a comprehensive inspection and maintenance plan will insure your system is always ready to protect life and property.

For more information or a free audit of your sprinkler cabinet, please contact a professional service provider.

A1 is a leading expert on the latest technology in life safety. To find out more information or to ask a question, click here or call us at 1-800-859-6198.

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