Let’s start this in story form: A few years ago, you bought or leased a building with all the bells and whistles for your new business venture. It wasn’t a brand new building, but it was a great spot for you to get started and it ticked all of your boxes. As a new and growing business, every penny of profit was being recirculated into the business to keep it growing, and you did the needs-must when it came to building maintenance, because why fix something if it’s not broken, right? Dripping taps, busted radiators, clogged toilets, and roof leaks were the worst of it, but otherwise, everything was going great! The team was growing, the business was surpassing every milestone, and you felt like you were on the top of your game.
As a part of this growth, you just bought new equipment and completely kitted out the first floor with new workstations for your team, because they deserved it and your business is going in the right direction! But one August long weekend, while your office was shut and you gave your team the weekend off, your fire sprinkler system seemed to spontaneously combust, soaking everything in sight, including that lovely new equipment you just installed. You came back to the office after a lovely long weekend soaking up the sun, to the first floor completely soaked and everything ruined; equipment, furniture, the ceiling, everything. An incident like this can bring a company to its knees, with small to medium enterprises being especially vulnerable, since recovery can be a long road without having a lot of assets or money in the bank to tide you over. While insurance is an easy way to lessen the blow, it is still a blow nonetheless, and often can be prevented which is the ideal situation.
How could have this situation been prevented?
A simple place to start is by getting a fire protection company to review your fire protection systems at least every year to ensure everything is in working order. Fire sprinkler systems are made up of a network of pipes, running in the walls and ceilings of your building. Many sprinkler systems use metal pipes, since they are generally fire proof, but they are susceptible to the “corrosion triangle”: metal, water and oxygen, which are the ultimate conditions for corrosion. This mostly goes unnoticed as the pipes are eaten away from the inside out, at which point, could be very costly and can cause extensive damage.
Identifying corrosion isn’t difficult, but it requires an inspection of the interior of the pipes. Rust isn’t the only problem that fire sprinkler systems face, since they can also contain other materials that shouldn’t be there, like mud, dirt, little stones or rocks, or even microbiologic growth. The presence of any of these materials inside of your sprinkler pipes would require a complete inspection of your entire system.
If corrosion is found early, it can be simpler to patch leaks or replace the affected pipes, but if it was found to be a widespread issue, it can mean the entire system would have to be replaced. This is not only expensive, but also disruptive since it can interrupt business operations. The key to this is regular inspections to maintain the health of your fire sprinkler system. Should a small section of pipe be corroded, that section can be replaced and a corrosion control strategy can then be implemented. A fire protection company would recommend the best strategy moving forward.
Overall, it comes down to ensuring that your business has regular inspections of your fire protection systems and ensuring that all measures are in place in the case of a fire. It’s such an easy thing to forget or overlook, but it’s just one of those maintenance things that you don’t always want to do, but have to do (like taxes!).
It’s important to always use an accredited fire protection company to guarantee their competency and ensure all work done is to the accreditation board’s standards. Avoid cutting corners by using an unqualified or non-dedicated company to work on your fire protection, since they may not know how their work can impact your fire stopping systems. Some construction materials are incompatible with fire protection systems and can compromise the integrity of your installed systems, such as causing cracks or leaks in your sprinkler systems.
Onetrace fire protection app
Onetrace fire protection app is committed to educating the public more about fires and the fire industry. We believe the more we understand about fires and fire protection, we can reduce the number of fires started and increase our safety levels and reaction times should a blaze occur. Stay tuned to learn more about fires, how to stop them, and how to prevent them.
If you’re interested in how Onetrace fire protection app works, all you need to do is simply get in touch or request a demo. If you’re not ready to commit or just want to have a quick peek, that’s okay - you can try Onetrace completely free for 14 days with zero obligation or commitment. It’s that simple.