Chapter 7


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Chapter 7

  1. 1. Fire Protection Systems Testing Chapter 7
  2. 2. Objectives <ul><li>Upon completion of this chapter, you will be able to: </li></ul><ul><li>Describe the fire code official’s role in the inspection and testing of fire protection systems </li></ul><ul><li>Explain the importance of systems acceptance tests, maintenance and periodic inspections, and retests </li></ul>
  3. 3. Objectives (cont’d.) <ul><li>List four system elements that contribute to reliability </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss the impact of unreliable fire protection systems on the public, the business community, and the fire service </li></ul>
  4. 4. Active Fire Protection <ul><li>Have moving parts and perform operations </li></ul><ul><li>Improperly designed/installed/maintained fire protection systems cause problems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For fire department, owner/occupant, public </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Public perception that signals are false alarm results in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Genuine public apathy at best </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Significant public danger at worst </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Fire Protection Systems <ul><li>Active fire protection features </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce property loss </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimize business interruption </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protect lives of building occupants </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Effectiveness depends on reliability </li></ul><ul><ul><li>John M. Cholin, P.E.: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reliability depends on design, equipment, installation, and maintenance </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Which Buildings and Why <ul><li>Automatic sprinklers: most cost-effective and efficient method (trade-off incentive) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chances of dying in a fire; average property loss per fire: cut by ½ - ⅔ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Completely sprinklered building </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Additional story in height; larger in size </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced fire resistance ratings of structural members </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increased travel distance to exits </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Which Buildings and Why (cont’d.) <ul><li>How much can be safely traded away? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Responsibility of local fire prevention bureau </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fire protection systems required with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>High-risk occupants: hospitals, prisons, schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Large occupant loads: theaters, nightclubs, passenger terminals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High fire loads: warehouses, stores </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. FIGURE 7-3 Examples of model building code incentives for the installation of fire sprinklers ( From the 2000 International Burning Code )
  9. 9. Sprinkler Reliability <ul><li>Very reliable </li></ul><ul><li>Top causes of unsatisfactory performance 1925-1969 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Were identifiable by inspection/testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Water shutoff </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>System inadequate for level of hazard </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Inadequate water supply and maintenance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Obstruction to water system </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>System only designed for partial protection </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Fire Departments and Fire Protection System Inspections <ul><li>Fire departments inspecting new fire protection systems: fairly recent </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Still in some cases, fire departments forced to live with what building department approves </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Fire Protection Systems Tests <ul><li>Fire Codes and Acceptance Tests </li></ul><ul><li>Systems Testing Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Maintenance and Retests </li></ul><ul><li>Contractor Oversight </li></ul>
  12. 12. Fire Codes and Acceptance Tests <ul><li>Mandated by model fire codes for all required fire suppression/alarm systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Acceptance tests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Included within the code-referenced standards for installation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contractor’s certification of completion </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Systems Testing Benefits <ul><li>Installation in accord with approved plans </li></ul><ul><li>Conditions in the structure accurately reflect those used to design the system </li></ul><ul><li>Additional set of eyes: construction safety </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction between fire department and building department personnel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased cooperation and safer structures </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Systems Testing Benefits (cont’d.) <ul><li>Interaction between fire department inspectors and contractors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Better understand expectations/needs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Valuable training for firefighters and prospective fire officers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Design/operation of fire protection systems </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Maintenance and Retests <ul><li>Ensuring that systems are properly designed and installed, not enough </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Must be adequately maintained and repaired </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Maintenance is cheaper than extensive repairs or replacement </li></ul>
  16. 16. Contractor Oversight <ul><li>Fire inspector: ensure the contractor performs job in accordance with the code </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not tell him how to perform the job </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Contractor Oversight (cont’d.) <ul><li>Requirements: clearly spelled out, readily available, and fairly implemented </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan submissions and permits, test protocols and fees, and scheduling procedures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Playing favorites: illegal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Delays in inspections and approvals slow down construction </li></ul>
  18. 18. Developing an Acceptance Testing Program <ul><li>If contemplating a program for inspection and witnessing of acceptance tests </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What agency has the oversight responsibility for fire protection systems installation? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How many and what type of systems are installed each year? Booms/busts? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will fire department provide necessary personnel, training, and resources? </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Summary <ul><li>Active fire protection systems </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Extinguishing, smoke control, alarm systems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase level of life safety, and minimize property damage and business interruption </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If not reliable, systems can have negative impact (false function) </li></ul><ul><li>Reliability: design, equipment, installation, and maintenance </li></ul>