Guidelines Impairments – Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems

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LOSS CONTROL
TECHNICAL GUIDE
Guidelines for Impairments of Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems
Impairment Procedures
What is a Sprinkler Impairment?
Fire protection system impairments are serious situations and occur when fire protection systems such as
sprinkler systems, fire pumps, water supplies, fire alarms or special protection systems are partially or completely
removed from service. Impairments will occur due to maintenance, renovation, new construction or equipment
failure and are generally categorized into three types - planned, concealed and emergency.
Whether the occurrence is planned or the result of an emergency, the situation cannot be taken lightly, since the
property immediately becomes vulnerable to severe fire. For this reason (your company name) has implemented the
following precautions to be taken to reduce hazardous operations and increase the level of fire safety awareness
during the impairment in order to reduce the potential for a severe fire.
Planned Impairments
Routine or non routine system shutdown occurs when fire protection systems are removed from service to make
system modification or maintenance improvements, such as replacing painted sprinkler heads or adding additional
protection to an existing fire system.
Routine or non routine system shutdowns should be scheduled ahead of time. Planning should also include a list of
impairment procedures to follow while the fire system is removed from service.
Concealed Impairments
Hidden impairments can be dangerous and can create disastrous fire losses if not found in time.
Regularly scheduled tests as advised by Crum & Forster Loss Control and required by NFPA 25 guidelines, are the key
to avoiding this no-win situation. Whatever the cause, correction of the problem and prompt restoration is vital to
controlling the severity of the incident. Should an impairment be found:
1.
Limit the extent and duration of the impairment.
2.
Work without interruption on the impaired equipment until protection is restored to the complete operation.
3.
Notify employees and stress to them the seriousness of the situation. Have them discontinue or reduce
hazardous processes or operations until restoration.
4.
Institute a fire watch and provide temporary protection if at all possible.
5.
Place all fire protection systems back in full operation after restoration.
6.
Test all fire protection equipment to ensure that it is operational.
Guide P—29
LOSS CONTROL
TECHNICAL GUIDE
Guidelines for Impairments of Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems
Emergency Impairment
An unplanned situation which totally or partially impairs the effectiveness of the protection systems.
Dedicated maintenance programs and proper planning can help prevent this type of disaster.
As with the other types of impairments, prompt repair and restoration of the systems is the key to preventing an
emergency situation from becoming a disaster. When an impairment is discovered:
 Limit the extent and severity of the impairment.
 Work without interruption on the impaired equipment until protection is restored.
 As with the planned impairment, stress to the employees that they should reduce the likelihood of fire by
discontinuing, if possible, hazardous processes or operations until restoration.
 Institute a fire watch and provide temporary protection, if at all possible.
 Place all fire protection systems back in full operation after restoration.
 Test all fire protection equipment to ensure that it is operational.
Impairment Procedure
Should fire protection equipment be impaired, whether planned or due to an emergency situation, the following
should be done:
 Notify the local fire department. This will inform them of the hazardous situation and permit them to adjust
their pre-fire plan to the situation.
 Call your authorized sprinkler contractor. Make them aware of the urgency of the situation and emphasize
the severity of the lack of fire protection to assure their quick response.
 Prepare. Before taking action to repair or to make adjustments to protective equipment, make sure all materials
and personnel are accessible to reduce the duration of the impairment.
 Start alerting key personnel. Alert maintenance personnel for the worst should the impairment turn into a
disaster.
 Work without interruption. Once work on the fire protection system starts, manage it so that work is
continuous without interruption until repairs are made, since fire can strike at anytime.
 Discontinue hazardous operations. Stop or remove from the building hot work such as cutting and welding,
open flame device operations, handling of flammable liquids and any work that could ignite a fire.
 Notify occupants. Notify building occupants and inform them of the seriousness of the operation and the need
to reduce the potential for fire.
 Post a fire watch. While the sprinkler system is out of service, heighten security and safety awareness.
Continuous tours around the facility by staff should be made to look for potential ignition sources, poor
housekeeping, poor storage practices, and generally unsafe conditions.
Guide P—29
LOSS CONTROL
TECHNICAL GUIDE
Guidelines for Impairments of Fire Protection Sprinkler Systems
9.
Strengthen first aid fire protection. First aid fire protection such as fire extinguishers, hoses, and other available
equipment should be placed in the area of impairment.
10. 10. Notify Crum & Forster Insurance. Notify our staff of the impairment and keep us posted on the situation.
11. 11. When the impaired system is repaired:
a.
Place equipment back in operation
b.
Perform a functional test
c.
Secure, lock or seal the system open
d.
Notify authorities and individuals of system being back in service.
See NFPA Standard # 25 (Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection Systems) for additional
information.
This document is provided for informaƟonal purposes only. It was developed as a general guide to safety from sources believed to be reliable and is not intended to provide
legal, technical or other professional advice. Compliance with all Federal, State or local laws and regulaƟons remain the policyholder’s responsibility.
Crum & Forster Enterprise is part of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited.
C&F and Crum & Forster are registered trademarks of United States Fire Insurance Company.
Guide P—29
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