Fire sprinkler systems save lives, but only if they are operable and fully functional. The head of a fire sprinkler system is the component of the system that discharges water when smoke/fire is detected. A fire protection technician must inspect a sprinkler system to identify if there are any recalled sprinkler heads in your building. You may not know otherwise, as the only “sign” of a defective sprinkler head for a building owner may be faulty operation or complete inability of the heads to activate properly.
To know if your building contains recalled sprinkler heads, contact your fire protection company to maintain regular fire sprinkler inspections.
Sprinkler systems save lives
Occupants in a building with recalled sprinkler heads are at serious risk of injury or death.
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) states that in reported U.S. fires during 2010 to 2014, the civilian death rate was 87 percent lower than in buildings with no automatic sprinkler systems. Those buildings containing fully functional sprinkler systems were able to provide more safety to its occupants.
As a building owner, the safety of your employees and those inside your building is solely your responsibility. In case of a fire, it’s critical that your life safety measures are current and working at optimum abilities.
Recalled sprinkler heads to watch for
In 1999, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Central Sprinkler announced the recall of over 8 million Omega brand fire sprinklers. In some cases, these Omega sprinklers directly above the fire failed to operate. The malfunction of these sprinklers caused over $4.3 million in property damage and four persons suffered injuries. These sprinkler heads can be identified based on the O-ring where the bulb goes into the base of the head. The heads that were not recalled have a bevel at the base where the bulb goes into the head. The CPSC sued the company. As part of the settlement, Omega agreed to replace the heads at no cost, and to reimburse some owners part of the cost of installation. CPSC could not, however, make the company cover all of the costs due to the threat of bankruptcy.
Another example is the Mealane Corporation, in cooperation with the United Sates Consumer Product Safety Commission, who voluntarily recalled up to one million Star brand fire sprinklers manufacture from 1961 through 1976, as these sprinklers could fail in a fire.
Lesson learned? Recalls can and do happen, and the repercussions are dire.
Who is responsible for recalled sprinkler head repairs?
According to NFPA 25, section 188.8.131.52.1 through 184.108.40.206, upon discovery of any equipment under recall, the owner shall repair or replace the components. Repairs must be performed by qualified maintenance personnel or a qualified contractor. This means that it is your responsibility to take action and replace recalled components, and you may be at fault if the recalled heads are not replaced in a timely manner.
What do I do if my building has recalled sprinkler heads?
If your fire protection company finds recalled sprinkler heads, or your fire protection company notifies you of recalled heads in your building, it’s imperative that you schedule your repair as soon as possible. You don’t want to be out of compliance, or worse.
A fire sprinkler tech can come out to your building and make the repairs. Once the repairs are taken care of, maintain regular inspections to ensure a fully functioning sprinkler system.
Fire sprinkler inspections
While it’s critical that all of your buildings fire sprinkler system parts are working correctly, proper installation of a sprinkler system is just as important, if not more. A reputable, highly skilled fire protection company is key.
Fire Systems, Inc. is your trusted source for fire sprinkler inspections, no matter your system type. A full system inspection should include checking for recalled sprinkler heads and a multitude of other potential issues. Fire Systems will inspect your fire sprinkler system with Fire Systems technicians, no sub-contractors, which gives us the best control of quality of service and safety.
Our software system keeps track of when inspections are due, and we also provide training in proper use and maintenance.
We also perform installations, repairs, and modifications on all types of fire sprinkler system, to help ensure your building contains a fully functional sprinkler system.
Call Fire Systems today at 770-333-7979 or visit our website for more information.