Fire Safety Equipment Maintenance – Why It’s So Important
Fire safety equipment maintenance is a bit like insurance, it’s one of those things that you know you need but you hate spending money on. At the end of the day, there’s no visible return or bright, shiny gadget, just a slightly depleted bank account.
However, without properly maintained equipment there’s a good chance that your fire protection system won’t work when you need it. What could have been a small, localized fire event will turn into a catastrophe if your fire extinguishers don’t work or the fire alarm panel fails to warn occupants. You could run into issues with your insurance provider if you haven’t followed municipal maintenance guidelines. Many businesses fail because of fire.
Here’s a cheat sheet to give you an idea of what we inspect for and how often it should be done.
Fire Alarm System Maintenance and Inspection
An annual fire alarm inspection is sufficient unless your building houses hazardous or unique operations. Here are some of the things we check for during an annual inspection:
- Alarm panel is working correctly
- Communications between the Fire Department or a third-party monitoring company is working
- The battery back-up is running at proper strength; batteries need to be replaced if necessary
- Each component: smoke detectors, heat detectors, pull stations — are working properly
You’re also required to perform a 30-second function test monthly. A property manager or operations employee can usually handle this.
Fire Alarm Inspection – Test for Sprinkler System Communications
During a fire alarm system inspection, we’ll check the communications between the fire alarm panel and the sprinkler system. However, a check of the sprinkler system is an inspection unto itself. Most systems require annual inspections, although hazardous or unique operations, may require more frequent checks. Here are some of the items we check during an annual sprinkler system inspection:
- Valve between municipal water main and sprinkler system is working
- Air Pressure in dry system is adequate
- Visual Inspection of sprinkler heads to ensure they are free of corrosion, debris, paint or other contaminants
- Pipes are supported properly
- Inspector’s test of one sprinkler head
- Drainage is functioning
- Room temperature is adequate to prevent pipe freezing
- Backflow protection devices are working
A fire pump is used in sprinkler systems that require more water than can be accessed through the municipal water supply, often highrises or very large buildings. A water flow test for the fire pump should be tested annually. However, as they are fairly complicated electric or diesel powered machines, the mechanics will need to be tested more often.
Standpipe System Maintenance
Both wet and dry standpipe systems require testing every five years. Wet systems require a flow test and dry systems require an air pressure test.
Fire Hydrant Annual Inspection
Fire hydrants should be inspected annually. Hydrants located on municipal properties are usually inspected by that municipality, but we’ll inspect and maintain hydrants located on private property. Our inspections include a flow test to determine water pressure and flushing of the hydrant to check for a number of deficiencies including:
- Ensure that valve is functioning properly
- Ensure there are no leaks
- Amount of dirt or silt in the water which could block the system
- Chlorine levels before and after which can indicate contamination in the water lines
Flushing can also get rid of built-up rust or corrosion.
Bi-Annual Fire Suppression System Inspection and Testing
Fire suppression systems containing gas or chemicals as their extinguishing agent usually require testing every six months. Some of the items we test for include:
- Visual check of tanks and pipes to ensure no dents, cracks or corrosion
- Tank pressure is at correct level
- Ensure that nozzles are debris-free, uncorroded and in the correct position
- Testing of mechanical and electrical components
Fire Extinguisher Annual Inspection
Fire extinguishers require annual inspections to ensure they will discharge when needed. Following are some of the items we test for:
- Ensure containers are not dented or damaged, and are properly supported
- Check that pressure is optimal
In addition, every six years extinguishers should be pulled apart and checked internally.
Emergency Lighting & Exit Sign Maintenance
An annual function test to ensure that emergency lights and exit signs are functioning is critical. We test for a number of things including:
- Emergency lights to be illuminated via battery power for .5 to 2 hours
- Batteries checked for corrosion, damage and shelf-life
- Fixtures checked for corrosion and cracks
- Wiring to inverters checked to ensure they are functional
Call Active Fire for More Information About Fire Equipment Maintenance
Without proper fire safety equipment maintenance there’s always a chance that one of the components of a fire prevention or life safety system could fail, jeopardizing the entire system. For more information on how we can help maintain your system so that it will function when it’s needed, contact us today via our form to the left or call 604-590-0149.
Vigilant Fire Alarm Systems and Control Panels – Top Life Safety Equipment Manufacturer
Vigilant is an industry leader, and a top choice for fire alarm systems. Their line of fire alarm control panels includes addressable fire detection for small buildings, intelligent fire detection for conventional systems and control panels for medium and large buildings.
Currently, there are many fire alarm systems with outstanding control panels, but today we want to talk about three of the Vigilant fire alarm control panels. Vigilant/Edwards has been a leader in fire protection equipment for generations. Their products are always at the forefront, embracing cutting-edge technology to enhance performance and reliability. They have a range of products that fit many applications – including yours!
We would like to introduce the top Vigilant fire alarm panels:
- Intelligent Life Safety Systems – Vigilant V Series
- Conventional Fire Alarm Control Panel – Vigilant Fire Shield ™ Plus
- Life Safety Solutions – Vigilant Versatile VM Series
Control Panels for Addressable, Intelligent Fire Detection – Vigilant V Series for Small Buildings
Traditionally, small buildings have been served by conventional fire alarm panels that lack diagnostic precision. Until now. According to Vigilant, the Vigilant V Series is “geared expressly for smaller applications that used to be the exclusive domain of conventional systems.” The V Series is intuitive, adaptable and priced competitively. Features of the system include:
- Ethernet port allows for remote diagnostics and programming
- Supports up to 500 peripheral devices
- Programmable or default settings for alarm sequencing
- Automatic drift compensation means that the system tunes detectors for specific environmental conditions, avoiding false alarms
- State-of-the-art detector testing allows for quick annual inspections
- Can be easily retrofitted in most buildings that previously housed conventional systems
- Signal Booster to prolong battery duration
Smart, cost-effective and sleek, the V Series brings sophistication to smaller operations.
Conventional Fire Alarm Control Panel – Vigilant FireShield™Plus
When used with Edwards smoke detectors, the FireShield™Plus takes on intelligent capabilities.
Vigilant’s FireShield™ Plus works best in small buildings when the budget is the determining factor for fire panel installation. Although conventional, when combined with Edwards 500 series smoke detectors, it can identify detectors that falls out of their sensitivity range giving it intelligent capabilities.
There are three, five and ten zone models available, depending on the size of the building. Features include:
- DACT/Dialer integrated into the system
- Serial Annunciator Modules
- Serial Remote Relay Modules
- 4 bell circuits
If you’re looking to retrofit a conventional system and cost is an issue, the FireShield™ is ideal.
Fire Alarm Systems for Mid and Large Sized Buildings – Vigilant Versatile VM Series
If you are looking for a flexible system for mid to large buildings, Vigilant’s Versatile VM Series is our recommendation. This Vigilant fire alarm system application can “handle jobs that range from a single stand-alone control panel to a sophisticated network comprising as many as 8 control panels processing data from 4000 devices.” It’s intuitive, sleek and adaptable.
Features of the system include:
- Internet-enabled microprocessors
- Proprietary Voltage Boost technology which allows for uninterrupted voltage
- Fibre optic communications
- Variety of Option Cards for flexibility
- Signal Booster to prolong battery duration
- Audio & Speaker System
- Firefighter Phone
No matter what size a building you own or manage, Vigilant has a fire alarm control panel for you.
Contact Us for More Info About Vigilant Fire Alarm Systems and Control Panels
If you are looking to retrofit an old building with a new fire alarm panel, or are in the planning stages of a new build, call us to find out how a Vigilant fire alarm control panel can complement your life safety system equipment. Contact us today via our form to the left or call 604-590-0149.
How a Well Designed Emergency Lighting System Saves Lives
It’s important to have adequate emergency lighting in commercial and office buildings, industrial buildings, and apartment and condo complexes.
In times of panic, people often forget the most mundane things. Like how to get out of the office building they’ve been working in for years or the apartment complex they’ve lived in since forever.
That’s why it’s important to have emergency lights placed strategically throughout your building. During a power outage emergency lights, along with exit signs, help occupants find their way out in a timely and calm manner.
Power Outages – Fires, Storms, or an Overloaded Electrical Grid
Emergency lights, either incandescent or LED, run on backup batteries and kick in when a building’s main power source goes out. Power outages occur during lightning storms, during a fire, if the electrical grid is overloaded, or any number of other reasons.
Emergency lights are placed along corridors, indicating a clear pathway for evacuation, at stairwells and at exit points. They’re also installed at fire control panels, emergency points or fire pull stations where they function as emergency task lights.
Maintained, Non-Maintained or Sustained – What Type of Emergency Light Suits Your Needs?
There are different types of emergency lights available. Non-maintained, which only come on if the power fails; maintained which are always on but switch to battery-powered during a power failure; and sustained, which have two lamps – one which is normally powered via the building’s electricity and one which illuminates via battery power in an emergency.
Sound confusing? At AFS we can help come up with an emergency lighting design that suits your building and helps protect its occupants.
Request More Information About Our Emergency Lighting Services
Emergency lights are beacons. They both show the way and kickstart muddled brains into emergency mode. They facilitate an orderly evacuation. Along with practiced fire drills and fire evacuation plans, they can curb panic, save lives and cut down on serious injuries. If you want to prevent a mad dash to the exits, or a slug-fest in the stairwell, make sure your building has the optimal amount of emergency lights.
Contact Active Fire and Safety Services today for a quote on emergency lighting design, installation, testing and maintenance. You can use the form to the left or call us at 604-590-0149.
View more information about emergency lighting.
Annual Sprinkler System Winterization Service – No Pipe Freezing
Have a Certified Sprinkler Fitter perform a fire sprinkler system inspection and winterizing service (to keep your pipes from freezing) each year to ensure optimal fire protection.
If you’re a property manager who oversees parkades, unheated warehouses or freezer units you should be aware of the importance of annual winterization services for your dry sprinkler system.
Dry sprinkler systems may be filled with compressed air, but that doesn’t stop water from accumulating in the pipes!
Why Pipes Need to Be Purged for Dry Sprinkler Systems
Although dry systems may be filled with air, that doesn’t stop water vapor from condensing and building up along the piping. Over time, this water will collect and pool at low points in the system, making the pipes extremely vulnerable to cracking or bursting when the cold weather sets in. To make sure that doesn’t happen, your dry sprinkler system requires an annual winterization service which will purge this residual water from the pipes.
What Happens During Winterization Servicing
Typically, a winterization service is best scheduled for October or November, before the cold weather sets in.
The first step we take in our winterization service is to make sure that the clapper valve that separates the piping from the water main is actively sealed. We’ll then open the low point drain and inspectors test valve to allow the residual water to escape. Once all water vapor and droplets have been purged, we’ll close the drain and inspector’s test valve, allowing the air pressure to build back up in the pipes. This air pressure will once again create a seal against the clapper valve, allowing us to remove the temporary seal.
Get a Free Quote for a Sprinkler System Winterization Service Today
An annual winterization service by a professional fire sprinkler company is crucial. At Active Fire, we’ll make sure your pipes stay problem-free. Book a winterization service before a cold snap catches you and your pipes unaware!
Contact us today via our form to the left or call 604-590-0149. | Learn more about fire sprinkler systems and how they work.
Fire Pump Controller Recall - Gems 3100 Pressure Detectors/Transducers
There has recently been an important product recall on the Gems 3100 Pressure Detectors/Transducers. Anyone currently using this product is to stop using it ASAP so as to prevent injury or death. It is also prohibited to re-sell a recalled product. There were aproximitely 25,000 units sold between January 2006 through February 2012 for about $250. …Read More