Outfitting your business with fire suppression equipment that keeps your operations and employees protected against a fire is critically important, but it's only one step in the process. Fire suppression equipment maintenance and testing, and doing so regularly and in compliance with fire code standards, are proactive lines of defence that ensure you have the means in place to avoid potentially catastrophic fire incidents.
Many plant engineers, risk managers and others responsible for facility operation don't adequately concern themselves with the inspection, testing and preventive maintenance of their fire suppression systems and equipment.
Developing a fire suppression equipment maintenance and testing schedule is essential to protecting the investment you've made in the equipment, keeping your employees safe, and ensuring that your operation avoids unnecessary downtime caused by faulty or outdated fire suppression equipment. We've outlined a process to get you started in this incredibly important step, so you can rest easy knowing your suppression systems are taken care of.
Build Out a Plan That's Fire Code Compliant
You know it's important to keep your fire suppression equipment and related systems working properly, but doing so means developing a proactive maintenance schedule that complies with requirements outlined in the fire code.
Safety inspections are performed regularly by licensed fire services professionals, and requirements differ depending on where you're located. These professionals can also be valuable in helping you develop a maintenance and testing schedule for your fire suppression equipment that complies with regional and national fire code requirements. For example, Ontario has fairly strict fire suppression maintenance and testing requirements, but outline what needs to be done and when here. If you're unsure if your system complies, seek out the help of a licensed fire service professional. And in many cases, developing a maintenance and testing schedule based on NFPA guidelines will ensure your suppression system is compliant.
Appoint a Fire Maintenance Champion
Identify an individual within your organization familiar with the ins and outs of your operations. Maintenance managers are ideal to champion a fire suppression equipment maintenance and testing schedule because they're knowledgeable about other areas of your operation, such as water and electrical systems.
How Detailed Does Your Plan Need to be?
The more elaborate your setup, the more that goes into maintenance and inspection process. If your fire suppression system is extensive and is integrated with your IT or data center, your system for managing maintenance and testing will be more complex. No matter your situation, however, you will need to ensure your schedule aligns with the inspection frequencies outlined in the fire code, which can range from twice a year fire alarm inspections to annual fire extinguisher tests.
A Regular Schedule Makes it Easier to Maintain Your Fire Suppression System
Fire suppression equipment maintenance and testing need to be taken seriously. These systems are designed to protect your assets, yourself and your employees. And while the equipment is seldom called upon to perform, it must do so flawlessly when needed to keep small issues turn from becoming a disaster. Developing a plan that makes fire suppression maintenance and testing a regular activity in compliance with regional fire codes makes sure small fire issues don't turn into expensive and tragic accidents.