Testing

Using a Life Safety Inspection Report

Your Life Safety Inspection report should be more than just a listing on what was inspected. This report can be a valuable document for you for record keeping, budgeting and planning, and preparing for your own inspections from your AHJ, insurance company or accreditation inspector.

 

What can you learn from your Life Safety inspection report?

 

  1. If any devices failed and why

Your Life Safety inspection report should list all devices that have been tested and inspected. You should easily be able to see any devices that failed and an explanation of why. If you have failed devices, you will need to get corrections made in order to stay compliant with NFPA and life safety standards.

  1. Request repairs from your report, and see notations for items that have been corrected since the inspection

If you have failed devices, you should be able to request a quote for repairs directly from your online report. Once repairs are complete, you can come back to your Life Safety inspection report and see notations on repaired devices. Your reports will be maintained by your Life Safety Partner, providing you with records of your Life Safety device repairs.

  1. Fire extinguisher testing schedule

Your inspection report should list out each fire extinguisher in your facility and when the next 6- or 12-year test is due for each. This information allows you to plan your budget for fire extinguisher maintenance. Of course, if you have a fire extinguisher maintenance plan, then your 6 year maintenance and recharge and 12-year hydrostatic tests and recharge are included and will not cost you anything additional.

  1. Print the full report for your AHJ, insurance or accreditation inspector.

Your Life Safety inspection report will have technical information on your systems. When you have a visit from your AHJ, insurance company, or accreditation inspector, print your full Life Safety inspection report. The technical information in your report will be used by your inspector to ensure compliance with codes, insurance regulations, or regulations with your accrediting agency.

For a complete list of what inspections are required for each system, visit A1’s inspections page, or check out our comprehensive Inspections Ebook.

If your Life Safety inspection report does not provide you with this information, speak to your Life Safety Partner about what you need or call A1. 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.

Nick Duke
Nick Duke
A1 Inspections Supervisor

Fire Hose Testing

Occupant Use Fire Hoses

The small hoses inside facilities are typically referred to as “Occupant Use Hoses.” This is a reflection of the fact that professional fire services will not use these hoses, but their own professional-grade hoses. Very seldom, if ever, will a fire department utilize the hose available within a facility and one of the reasons is that the hose is not maintained by the fire department so they cannot be sure of its maintenance history and current state.

So, what are occupant use fire hoses for?

Occupant use fire hoses were originally intended for building occupants to use like they would an extinguisher, to fight incipient stage fires. Concerns of liability have changed this standard though and most companies do not encourage employees to fight incipient stage fires. Employee safety should always be your primary concern. Before deciding whether your facility should allow the use of hoses for incipient stage firefighting, look closely at your hazards, resources, and safety issues.

One special use of fire hoses is during a time when your sprinkler system may be down for repairs or improvements. Having a fire hose charged and available can provide protection during this vulnerable time. It may also be a precaution you can take when hot work is being done in your facility. During any hot work activity, it is possible for sparks to smolder for a long period of time which may result in a fire. While an extinguisher can also be used, extinguishers only provide a few seconds of discharge which may not be sufficient during hot work situations.

Why do fire hoses need to be inspected?

Like any Life Safety inspection, the purpose of fire hose inspections is to ensure it is in operable condition for use during an emergency. There is a specific concern with fire hoses, since they operate under pressure from the water flow, if there is a break in a worn and unmaintained hose it can cause a portion of the hose to whip around uncontrollably, potentially causing injury.

When should you have your hoses inspected professionally?

Every year, or after any use, you should have your fire hose inspected by a professional for a visual hose, nozzle and coupling inspection. During this inspection, your Life Safety Partner will unrack, unreel/unroll and physically inspect your hose to determine that the hose, couplings, and any nozzle have not been vandalized, they are free of debris, and exhibit no evidence of mildew, rot or damage by chemicals, burns, cuts, abrasion or vermin. They will also check that nozzle controls and adjustments operate properly, inspect gaskets for presence, tight fit, and deterioration, and couplings for damage, corrosion, and rotation.

Within 5 years of manufacture, and every 3 years after that, your Life Safety Partner should perform a Hose Pressure Service Test. Using a hose testing machine, they will raise the hose pressure slowly to 45 psi and bleed off air, then raise the pressure slowly until the service test pressure is attached and maintained for 3 minutes.

Please note, these testing and inspections requirements are for occupant use fire hoses. If you have a fire brigade and a structural fire brigade hose cabinet, then both testing and inspection must be completed on an annual basis.

What self-inspections should you do to check for problems in between professional inspections?

In between your annual inspection, it’s a good idea to have someone assigned to perform a brief visual inspection of your fire hose. This can be done at the same time they perform your monthly extinguisher inspections. Look for cracks, weak areas, signs of fraying, vandalism of any type, and broken couplings. If you see signs of any damage, you should contact your Life Safety Partner for assistance.

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.

Joseph Reynolds
Joseph Reynolds

Sprinkler Heads

Sprinkler heads are an important piece of your intricate sprinkler system. As such, it is necessary to understand how they work and what is required in maintaining them.

A fire sprinkler system is made up of a network of piping connected to a water supply. Individual sprinkler heads are placed along the piping to protect the area beneath them. These sprinklers individually activated by a heat source. Unlike in the movies, when a fire occurs only the sprinkler head above the fire activates, efficiently applying water only where it is needed.

How a Sprinkler Head works

Each sprinkler head consists of a plug held in place with a trigger mechanism. The most common type of trigger is a glass bulb filled with heat-sensitive, glycerin-based liquid. When the temperature around the sprinkler head is high enough to expand the glycerin-based liquid (most commonly designed at 155 degrees) the glass bulb breaks and the plug is forced out by the pressurized water or air in the pipes. This allows the water to flow out of the sprinkler and directly into the deflector plate of the sprinkler head which is designed to distribute water in an even pattern. Water will continue to flow until the main valve is shut off.

A less common trigger mechanism than the glass bulb is a two-part metal link which is held together with a solder point. When the ambient temperature is high enough to melt the solder point, the plug is released and water flows over the sprinkler head.  sprinkler heads

Smoke will not activate a fire sprinkler and only the sprinklers close enough to the heat source to reach the rated temperature activate. When a sprinkler activates, the water flows forcefully down over the flames, extinguishing them completely in most cases, or at least controlling the heat and spread of the fire and limiting the development of toxic smoke.

Sprinklers are so effective because of how quickly they react. They reduce the risk of death or injury from a fire because they dramatically reduce heat, flames and smoke which gives people time to evacuate.

Required and Recommended Inspections and Testing

As you can see, sprinkler heads are an important component of your sprinkler system. They must be inspected visually annually. Sprinkler head inspections ensure that water can discharge properly; they are checked for obstructions, damage, corrosion, and paint or other foreign material which may interfere with the sprinkler head operation.

Once your sprinkler heads are 50 years old, they should be tested at that time, followed by testing every 10 years after until they are 75 years old, at which point they must be tested every 5 years. Unlike plumbing, electrical, or HVAC systems, sprinkler systems can sit inactive for years if no fire emergency occurs. As a result of this idleness, proper testing is the only way to ensure the sprinkler system and the sprinkler heads are working correctly. To test your sprinkler heads, your Life Safety Partner will remove 1%, but at least 4, of your sprinkler heads from different areas of your sprinkler system and perform a plunge test. The plunge test measures the amount of time it takes for the sprinkler head to activate. If a sprinkler head fails, then all sprinkler heads in the area from where that particular head was taken must be replaced.

Dry-type sprinkler heads have a much higher failure rate than other types and must be tested every 10 years, starting at 10 years instead of 50. This is due to their susceptibility to corrosion both internally, when moisture condenses inside the device, and externally. In addition, dry-type sprinklers are usually installed in harsher environments which provide greater opportunity for damage to the sprinkler heads. In addition sprinklers with fast response elements should be tested every tested or replaced after 20 years and sprinklers exposed to a harsh environment every 5 years. You should consult with your Life Safety Partner about the costs of testing them versus replacing them.

Another requirement for sprinkler heads is that you have a cabinet with spare heads onsite.  A sprinkler head may need to be replaced for any number of reasons, it may have become coated with a foreign material or activated due to a fire. The area the sprinkler was 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 which leaves the entire facility unprotected. Sprinkler heads need to be replaced as quickly as possible to keep your system running or get it back in service. There are many different sprinkler head types, depending on the availability of the type you need it could take days or even weeks to order a new one. Keeping extra sprinkler heads onsite is required and ensures uninterrupted fire protection of your business, life, and property. You can read more about spare sprinkler head cabinet requirements here.

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.

Greg Lane

Fire Sprinkler Inspections

Fire Sprinkler inspections are an important step in your Life Safety program.

Sprinklers are very reliable and can last as long as the building in which they are installed. As with any other mechanical system, sprinkler systems and its external components each have their own design, inspection, and maintenance requirements. As you would expect, there is a long list of inspections and tests required. Weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual tests of items such as bearings, couplings, coolant, fuel, batteries, oil, gauges, etc. are just a small sampling. In addition, the different systems must be run tested periodically to ensure functionality.

Sprinkler inspections differ somewhat based on what type of system you have, but all systems must have professional inspections quarterly, semi-annually, and annually. Fire sprinkler systems are comprised of piping, sensory parts, sprinkler heads, pumps, valves, gauges, and many other parts that work together in order to provide fire protection. If any one of these parts has a problem, it can cause your system to work less efficiently or become inoperable. Regular maintenance and inspections of the equipment will not only ensure everything is working and ready if needed it will also help eliminate costly repair bills down the road due to neglected equipment.

For a complete list of what inspections are required for each system, visit A1’s inspections page, or check out our comprehensive Inspections Ebook.

In between your professional inspections and maintenance, it is important that you check your fire safety systems and devices. Look for leaks, damaged areas, gauges that are not in the proper range, rust, or any other indicators that your system may not be functioning properly. Self-inspections will allow you to catch problems early, alert your fire safety company, and keep your system running to protect lives and assets. As always, some cities and states require more frequent professional inspections so be sure to check your State and Local Code.

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.

Nick Duke
Nick Duke
A1 Inspections Supervisor

Online inspection reports make staying in compliance easier

Web based inspections provide easily accessible and organized, documented proof that your life safety systems are up to date and performing properly.

All life safety systems require inspections and maintenance to ensure they will function properly in an emergency to keep your people and assets safe. Traditionally, inspections are performed, and the manager or owner is provided with a written receipt stating the inspections and systems checked. This paper report must be kept on hand for inspectors from your AHJ, so it is imperative to keep your inspection reports organized and easily accessible. Detailed inspection reports assist fire and safety officials in enforcing safety regulations easily in their jurisdiction, while they provide building owners/property managers with peace of mind knowing that their life safety systems are in compliance.

If your inspection reports do not show details for each device inspected, how can you be sure your inspector was thorough and that each system is working? Along with the detailed inspection reports, your inspector should provide you with any pertinent information about your system such as work performed, issues found and suggested solutions. When your inspections are complete, you should be more knowledgeable about your life safety systems.

Online inspection reports: detailed, secure, always available

inspection report

Web based inspection reports include a full disclosure of who, what, when, and where each device was inspected. With the available technology today, why leave your inspection reports in the past? Online inspection reports provide convenience and assurance that all devices are inspected. They also allow you to check your inspection reports anytime, anywhere on a secure database and give you access to all of your information in one convenient location. You can stay organized, request a service call, and see up to five years of inspection reports. Within a matter of minutes, you’ll find exactly what problems were detected and resolved during your recent inspection. The online inspection report system scans the recall database for devices used at your facility, if a recalled item is found you will receive an email notification alerting you to the issue.

Proven inspection process: thorough and efficient

While detailed inspection reports are important, they are only as good as the inspection process behind them. Ask your inspection company what processes they have for their inspectors to ensure each device is inspected. You need your inspections to be accurate; it is important for your business that inspections also be efficient to limit interruptions to your business.

A1’s proven inspection process and online reports provide a better way to accurately track each device in your facility and keep a detailed record of inspections and maintenance.

How it Works:

·         All devices are barcoded, labeled, and scanned.

·         The scan is logged on your inspection report with a date and time stamp.

·         The device is checked against the product recall database. If a recall is found, an automatic notification is sent to the manager/owner.

·         The report is available online 24/7/365.

 

Do you know what inspections you need? For a complete review of required inspections see A1’s Inspections Guide.

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.

Nick Duke

 

 

 

 

Nick Duke

Commonly Overlooked Test and Inspection Requirements

Life safety systems such as sprinklers, fire extinguishers, fire pumps, and fire alarms all have required tests and inspections to ensure they are running properly. Fire safety systems protect lives and property, and where they are required to be installed there is an authority (such as the AHJ or Fire Department) to inspect them and ensure compliance with state and federal laws.

While many people look at these inspections as a hassle, they actually benefit the building or business owners, and those that utilize the building.

Fire safety inspections offer:

  • A safer shopping, work or living environment;
  • Business and job security, as up to 80% of all small businesses that experience a large fire never reopen, and those that do reopen stand to lose much of their customer base due to prolonged closures;
  • A building with an improved resale value, as many buyers will have a building inspected for fire or safety hazards, or areas not up to code.
  • A potential for lower insurance premiums, some items on the inspection checklist may be required by both the fire department and your insurance company (such as an annual fire sprinkler and fire alarm inspection), many insurance companies provide premium reductions to businesses for a properly installed and maintained fire protection system.

For a complete list of fire safety devices and their required inspection schedules, check out our Inspections Guidebook. But below are a few of the most commonly missed safety device inspections.

  1. Sprinkler Head Testing

If you have a Sprinkler System you should have the system regularly inspected and tested. But did you know that you also need to have the Sprinkler Heads tested?

A fire sprinkler head is the component of a fire sprinkler system that discharges water when the effects of a fire have been detected, such as when a predetermined temperature has been exceeded. It is critical for the sprinkler head to be clear of obstructions, as well as corrosion, paint or other foreign material, which may prohibit it from working properly.

Required Inspections: Every 10 Years for dry type sprinkler heads; Every 20 Years for Sprinkler Heads with a Fast Response Element; at 50 Years all Sprinkler Heads must be tested and from this point must be tested every 10 years; at 75 Years all Sprinkler Heads must be tested and testing must be done every 5 years.

Find out what type of Sprinklers Heads you have and how old they are to determine what testing you need to schedule! Call A1 or your Fire Protection company for help.

  1. Sprinkler Standpipesstandpipe1

Standpipe systems are a series of pipe which connect a water supply to hose connections, basically an extension of the fire hydrant system. They are designed to provide a pre-piped water system for building occupants or the fire department. Standpipe systems are designed to provide fire protection water for hose lines in strategically placed locations inside a building or structure. They are most common in large floor area buildings, where most of the facility may be some distance from an outside entrance, or in multistory buildings to prevent long lengths of hose in stairwells and on the ground.

Required Testing and Inspections: If you have a Standpipe system in your building, it is required to be inspected annually. Various testing of equipment is also required, for example a flow test must be performed every 5 years. According to NFPA 25 2011 (6.3.1), a flow test shall be conducted every 5 years at the hydraulically most remote hose connections of each zone of an automatic standpipe system to verify the water supply still provides the design pressure at the required flow. Check out A1’s Standpipe Systems Ebook for more detailed information about Standpipes.

 

  1. Sprinkler Cabinets sprinkler cabinet

If you have a Sprinkler System, you are required to have a Sprinkler Cabinet with spare sprinkler heads, a sprinkler head wrench, and a list of all sprinkler head locations on site. NFPA requires a certain number of each type of sprinkler heads used in your sprinkler system to be stored on-site to allow for immediate removal and replacement of sprinklers that may have been operated or become damaged.

Required Inspection: According to NFPA 25 (5.4.1.5), a supply of at least six spare sprinklers shall be maintained on the premises so that any sprinklers that have been operated or been damaged in any way can be promptly replaced. A5.4.1.5 states that a minimum of two sprinklers of each type and temperature rating installed should be provided.

 

Tips for your fire inspection

Meet with your inspector before they begin to ask what devices they will be looking at. Provide the inspector with copies of all your system and equipment inspection, testing, and maintenance (ITM) reports. Have someone accompany the inspector to take notes on areas you need to address.

 

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.

David Strunk

How to Perform a Monthly Inspection of your Fire Extinguishers

Have you ever noticed that paper tag on your fire extinguishers? Flip it over! That’s for recording a monthly inspection.

All fire extinguishers are required by law to be properly inspected, tested and maintained. Fire extinguishers must be given a monthly visual inspection, an annual inspection and maintenance, and hydrostatic testing completed every 12 years.

If the proper fire extinguisher is used correctly, more than 90% of fires are extinguishable so it’s very important to make sure your extinguishers are in good working order.  The professional who conducts your annual inspections and maintenance can perform the monthly inspection (which will include checking seals and updating your online reports), or you can designate an employee to perform a more basic monthly inspection to check for repairs that would require a professional. Either way, EVERY EXTINGUISHER on the premises must be inspected EVERY MONTH according to NFPA 101(00), NFPA-10 and State of Ohio State Fire Code*.

How to perform a basic visual inspection of a Fire Extinguisher:extinguisher tag2

  1. Check that the extinguisher is in the designated place.
    (remember how far away from hazards different extinguishers should be?)
  2. Check the canister for dents or scratches.
    Anything that intrudes into the canister more than 1/16 of an inch makes it a deficient extinguisher.
  3. Check the hose for blockages.
  4. Make sure the gauge is reading in the green range.
  5. Ensure the pull pin is inserted properly.
  6. Make sure the hose is properly secured.
  7. Make sure there are no obstructions to access or visibility, and that operating instructions are facing forward.
  8. Initial and date the tag, to reflect inspection information.

If problems are found with any of the above items (dents, hose blockages, gauges not in the green range, pull pin missing, or hose cannot be properly secured to canister), call A1 as your extinguisher will need to be replaced or repaired.

For Rechargeable Extinguishers, if the following problems are found, call A1 for help as corrections or replacement of the extinguisher must be made:

  1. Safety seals are broken or missing.
  2. There is evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.
  3. Pressure gauge readings are not in the proper range or position (green).
  4. Operating instructions are not legible.
  5. Fullness cannot be confirmed by weighing or lifting.

For Nonrechargeable Extinguishers, if the following problems are found, call A1 for help as the extinguisher must be removed from use:

  1. There is evidence of physical damage, corrosion, leakage or clogged nozzle.
  2. Pressure gauge readings are not in the proper range or position.
  3. Operating instructions are not legible.
  4. Fullness cannot be confirmed by weighing or lifting.

Note: Nonrechargeable extinguishers can be identified by markings such as “Discharge and Dispose of After Any Use,” “Discharge and Return to Manufacturer After Any Use,” or simply, “Nonrechargeable.”

 

So that’s a monthly inspection! Repeat the process for EVERY EXTINGUISHER to make sure you are compliant with State of Ohio Fire Code*.

 

Will Buchholz

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. Check out our Workplace Fire Extinguisher Training!

 

* NFPA 101(00), Sec. 9.7.4.1 and Ohio Administrative Code 1301:7-7-09 require that portable fire extinguishers be inspected and maintained in accordance with NFPA 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. In other words, all fire extinguishers are required by law to be properly inspected, tested and maintained.

Standpipes: How to perform your weekly maintenance check

NFPA 25, Standard for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems, requires that a standpipe system be visually inspected on a regular basis.

 

If your building or facility has multiple levels or a large area such as an enclosed shopping mall then you may have a standpipe system. This water based fire system is an integral part of your building’s fire and safety design as it can supply the building’s sprinkler system and allows firefighters to hook up fire hoses directly on the level where a fire is occurring.

There are different types of standpipes, some may have water in them while others are dry and need to be hooked to a water supply for use; some  standpipes have enough pressure from the water supply to work on their own, while others need the help of a fire department pumper truck.

Pictured above is one example of a stand pipe with a 2 ½” hose vale. These vales should be checked weekly for damage, leaks, or missing caps.

 

What you need to do:
No matter what type you have, it is important to inspect your standpipe weekly for:

  • Signs of physical damage or leakage.
  • Make sure all control valves are in place.
  • Check for dry rot on the hose and cap gaskets.
  • Check for proper labels on equipment.
  • Make sure equipment is accessible – not blocked by boxes or other items.
  • Gauges on dry, pre-action, and deluge valves for standpipes should be inspected for normal air and water pressure; automatic standpipes can be inspected monthly.

Prevent Problemsstandpipe hose
The most common problems found with standpipes are related to housekeeping – keep your standpipes in good working order by keeping the area around the standpipe and valves cleaned and painted in order to prevent corrosion. Standpipes are commonly in need of maintenance for leaking valves, missing caps or handles, and damaged devices – all of which you will be able to see on your weekly checks so it can be fixed right away, before the problem escalates!

Your weekly checks should find any emergency maintenance problems, your required semi-annual and annual inspections will test the system thoroughly for issues you would not be able to see in your weekly checks. At the semi-annual inspection, your alarm devices, valve supervisory devices, and supervisory signal devices will be tested. In addition to these, the annual inspection will test the hose nozzles, hose storage devices and main drain.

Every 3 to 5 years, inspections will include a pressure test on hoses; testing of control valves, pressure-reducing valves and system flow; dry standpipe system piping, hydrostatic test; and a full flow test. Your inspector will lubricate and operate all valves and hose connections to ensure everything is working properly and they will remove the hoses from racks to reload them in order to keep them in good working order.

Read more about Standpipes, the different types, required inspections, and more in our Standpipe Systems Ebook. 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.

Greg Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire Door Inspection

Fire Doors play a vital role in your facility’s fire protection plan.  Like fire and smoke dampers, they prevent the flow of toxic smoke and fumes throughout the facility by creating isolated compartments.  These devices hide in plain sight and are plagued with DIY modifications, blockages, and code violations.   It is critically important to make sure your doors are regularly inspected for compliance.

A1’s system of inspections provides barcodes for all devices in your facility, ensuring that each item – including fire doors – is inspected and included in your report. Reports are accessible 24/7/365 at www.a1ssi.com, so your report is available when you need it.

 

Self-Inspection

Make sure your fire doors are in proper working order, do a self-inspection today!

  • Additional locks impeding egress in case of emergency and compromising door integrity
  • Check that your fire doors are able to open and close easily.
  • Ensure the floor space on each side of the door is clear of obstructions.
  • No additional locks, security devices, or door modifications are installed that would impede the door being opened during an emergency.
  • The self-closing device is functioning.
  • Latching hardware operates and secures the door when it is in the closed position.

Check out the most common deficiencies so that you can avoid or correct them!

Professional Inspection

A functional test must be performed by a professional who can demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the operational components of the door. A functional test of fire doors is required on an annual basis (NFP 80 NFPA 101) and corresponding reports must be kept for the AHJ.

During an inspection by A1, inspectors will barcode, label and scan each fire door in your building. The scan is logged with a date and time stamp and digital pictures are taken of the fire doors in the open and closed state. The doors are checked against the product recall database to ensure the safety of your employees and facility. When your inspection is complete, simply logon to Inspection Reports at www.a1ssi.com to view the full report.

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.

Greg Lane

Weekly Testing of Diesel Fire Pumps

In accordance with 2014 NFPA 25: Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, diesel fire pumps must go through not only an annual flow test, but also a weekly churn test (sometimes called a no-flow test or an operating test).

The standard procedure for a weekly test on a diesel fire pump is as follows:

INSPECTION:

Before any testing, follow the attached checklist to ensure the conditions are correct and the pump is ready to be tested.

TESTING:

  1. Use a fire pump churn test log to verify steps completed (see link.)
  2. Notify your alarm company and facility representatives of the pending churn test.
  3. Review the fire pump assembly nameplates, noting the voltage rating, rated speed, and churn pressure for the unit.
  4. Record the suction and discharge pressures. Record the current pressure reading as well as the highest and lowest pressures indicated on the fire pump controller event log. If these values are outside of the expected range, a record of the entire event log must be made and further investigation must be conducted, with corrective action being taken.
  5. Check the area surrounding the relief valve or cooling water discharge outlets to ensure there are no apparent conditions that would stop water from being discharged safely or cause direct damage to the area. If the discharge area is subject to potential freezing conditions, the facility representative should be advised.
  6. To limit the exposure of the connected systems to the surge or pressure during the start-up of the pump, consider closing discharge control valve prior to conducting the test.
  7. Simulate an automatic start for the fire pump by creating a pressure drop in the sensing line to the fire pump controller. This can be accomplished by slowly opening the drain valve on the sensing line located near the fire pump controller until the fire pump starts automatically. Do not use the “start” button when simulating an automatic start. Note the start time of the fire pump to measure the run time and record the starting pressure.

For pressure-actuated fire pump controllers that use an automatic timer, an automatic opening of a solenoid valve in the sensing line to the controller might be used to simulate the automatic start of the fire pump. These systems must include a record of the pressure drop on the pressure recorder for the controller.

  1. Observe the amount of time required for the diesel engine to crank. Any delays in starting the engine should be investigated and corrective action should be taken. Typically, the controller will attempt three 15-second crank cycles before registering a failure-to-start trouble condition.
  2. Check the operating speed of the diesel engine and note the time needed to reach the rated (should be within 20 seconds). The measurement can be taken with a handheld tachometer. Note that the use of a strobe-type handheld tachometer requires advance preparation prior to the test for proper measurement, including the application of a reflective tape on the shaft and/or removal of protective covers that shield the rotating shaft.
  3. Observe the engine instrument panel to ensure that the engine oil pressure, operating speed, water and oil temperature, and charging rate are within the acceptable range. Check approximately every 5 minutes during the test.
  4. Check the fire pump packing gland for a slow drip of water, adjusting the packing gland nuts as needed to achieve about 1 drip/second. For safety, the adjustment should be made when the pump is not running. Exercise care to ensure the glands are not tightened to the point of breaking.
  5. Monitor the fire pump operation for any unusual vibration, noise, or other sign of malfunction.
  6. For radiator-cooled diesel fire pumps, verify that the operation of the circulation (casing) relief valve has a steady stream of water to ensure proper cooling of the pump case.
  7. For heat exchanger-cooled diesel fire pumps, verify that the heat exchanger has a proper flow of cooling water.
  8. If the fire pump is equipped with a main pressure relief valve, verify the operation of the valve such that outlet pressures do not exceed the pressure rating of the piping downstream of the fire pump. Usually, this rating is 175 psi (12.1 bar); however, some systems are designed for higher pressures.
  9. Record the suction and discharge pressures. Note that for vertical turbine pumps, only the discharge pressure is recorded.
  10. Record the pressure at the fire pump controller pressure switch or pressure transducer, and compare it with the discharge pressure recorded above.
  11. Check the packing gland box, shift bearings, and pump casing for overheating about every five minutes during testing. The packing gland box and shaft bearings may be warm to the touch, but the pump casing should remain cool.
  12. Allow the fire pump to continue operating for 10 minutes, checking for overheating periodically. Shut down manually after 10 minutes have elapsed. Some fire pump controllers might include automatic run timers that shut down the pump after a specific amount of time. For these controllers, check the run time for the fire pump to ensure the required 10 minutes has passed.
  13. Reopen the fire pump discharge control valve (if closed) and conduct a valve test downstream of the closed valve.
  14. Inspect and clean any installed intake screens.
  15. Where the fire pump controller is equipped, replace any pressure recorder charts and rewind as necessary.
  16. Restore the fire pump to automatic operating position.
  17. After completing all testing, notify the fire department and/or alarm monitoring company and the facility representative that testing is complete. Reset fire alarm system as necessary. A state certified professional should also be called to correct the deficiency.

Click the link below to download a printable fire pump testing checklist.

Weekly Fire Pump Inspection Checklist

 

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Mike Rossman
Mike Rossman