When dealing with a fire, the fire sprinkler system in a commercial building is a crucial component for your buildings’ safety. The fire riser room (the heart of the sprinkler system) is usually hidden from sight, making it easy to go unnoticed. Once there is any sign of a rise in temperature, that tiny sprinkler head on your ceiling must react, and react quickly! If the sprinkler reacts even a second too late, it can lead to a full-on blaze – leaving your business property or place of residency destroyed.
Did you know that CertiPro Fire experts save lives in Arizona every day? They do it this by paying attention to this specific safety system factor. Let us paint you a picture of what that might look like.
A Regular Fire Inspection Turns Heroic
It was like any other winter day in Mesa, Arizona. Requests for fire sprinkler reports, extinguisher maintenance, emergency lighting testing, and backflow prevention jobs are rolling in, like usual.
With the economy still in recovery from the 2020 pandemic, building owners around the Phoenix Valley-Metro Area are making wiser financial decisions for their buildings, and for the safety of their inhabitants. They know that paying for a property inspection or installation is way cheaper than the liability of complete property loss, and aren’t willing to take on that added risk and expense.
Fearing an incident might occur, It became common for commercial building owners to call in to request a fire sprinkler system inspection.
As soon as the call is finished, CertiPro Fire assembles its uniformed, trained, and certified fire experts to visit the commercial building. Little did they know, this particular inspection would end up saving a life just days later.
Inspecting fire sprinklers, especially in a riser room, requires thorough observation and specialized knowledge in the fire protection and prevention industry. At first glance, the commercial building seemed to have a regular fire prevention system installed. However, when the CertiPro Fire Technicians took a closer look at the sprinkler system in the fire riser room, they saw the ominous threat that awaited the building.
A simple spark or untamed flame could have burned down the entire building, resulting in possible casualties. If CertiPro Fire had not come and performed an annual inspection, the case would have been all over the local Arizona news. A commercial building catching fire that leads to death is a topic that no building owner wants to be featured on!
How CertiPro Fire Inspections Saved Lives That Day
A riser room is a dedicated spot to install a fire safety system. Commercial buildings, such as apartments, shopping malls, hospitals, and office buildings must have one or multiple riser rooms. These riser rooms have to be equipped with fire systems that fulfill Arizona fire sprinkler system requirements.
A riser room can put out a fire effectively by providing the water pressure behind the sprinkler system. There is a valve in the riser pipe, which is responsible for controlling the amount of water needed to put out the fire. Making sure the valve is working correctly within the riser room is the ultimate key to a safe and effective fire prevention system.
In this particular instance, Certiprofire experts explained their findings in the fire riser room, on-sight. They saw that the building control valve had a regular black steel nipple between a piece of copper and a piece of brass. These three elements start to corrode the black metal through a reaction called electrolysis. If the valve corrosion is ignored, there are at least two possible dangers awaiting the building:
Fire Sparks from Wet Electrical Cables
A valve that corrodes will leak pressurized water. Since valves are linked to every aspect of a building’s electrical systems, a single drop of unwarranted water on its cables can lead to electrocution and fire hazard in your commercial building.
Another unintended consequence of leaks from a riser valve is damage to the smoke detectors’ electrical wiring. A damaged smoke detector will give out a continuous and annoying false alarm. This can often lead to disorientation and confusion for people in the building. False alarms can be caused by many variables and should be addressed with a professional fire inspection as soon as possible.
Ineffective Fire Sprinklers
Imagine a water hose with holes. When you turn it on, the water pressure spewing from the end will be lower than usual. Since fire sprinklers depend on the amount of water in a valve and the pressure within that pipe, the same logic applies.
Extinguishing fire with low water pressure is similar to a baby punching an adult. You can see the baby punching, but the adult will not be harmed. Furthermore, fire spreads extremely quickly, providing a high probability of danger to humans. At that point, it may be too late for everyone in the building to realize the fire system has failed or give them time to evacuate.
What is CertiPro Fire’s Solution to this Issue?
The root of the issue with the valve is the fact that the water valve’s black steel is trapped in between copper and brass. Thus, it corrodes through electrolysis. Moreover, the valve’s intricate pieces are also tied to water flow, the gauge, and the drain. Chances for electrocution, fire hazard, and fire system failure in the building are higher than average.
Mineral build-up and corrosion due to electrolysis are natural biological processes that are out of our control. However, since the problematic valve connects to many other crucial parts in the riser room, the issue gets progressively worse each day. Fire riser valve pipes are not usually made with this variation of metals, and should always be avoided, if possible.
That being said, replacing the copper and brass in the valve is a simple and smart solution for avoiding this in the future, and avoiding future incurred damage. By doing so, CertiPro Fire prevents the same hazards from occurring until the next inspection but building the riser with metals that are compatible, the first time around.
CertiPro Fire experts also understand copper and brass are limited resources on earth. Instead of throwing away the old copper and brass, the team recycles them! A brilliant solution for a full-circle, sustainable service.
Is that all CertiPro Fire technicians did? Not at all. CertiPro pays attention to the building water pressure quality, as well.
High water pressure is an effective fire extinguisher. Yet, water pressure over 500 psi can threaten the system’s safety. Understanding this during the inspection, the CertiPro Technicians set up a special piece of equipment to prevent water pressure from rising too high!
In order to repair the broken fire riser, the technicians had to replace the valve pipe that was corroded, fix the gauge, and do a drain check. CertiPro Fire left the building with a fully functioning fire system, ready to save lives if any incident occurs. The final result? A safer commercial building, and a happy building owner!
How to Check your building’s Fire System
Regular inspection is crucial for a commercial building’s safety level. Some people do it annually or quarterly, depending on the age of their building and their building needs. A simple spot check by an inexperienced building owner will not suffice to make sure your system is free of corrosion or fire system failure points.
Earlier, we mentioned that a fire sprinkler or system inspection requires detailed expertise. If an inexperienced person performs an inspection, they may miss a crucial factor, or not know where to begin; or worse- they may injure themselves!
CertiPro Fire and Life Safety technicians do not advise that you try to do a fire inspection on your own. Fortunately for your building in Arizona, booking a professional from CertiPro Fire to come out and do an inspection service on your residential or commercial building is as easy as filling up a request form or calling 480-829-7600.