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August 2002: New Rules and Regulations for Fire Sprinklers

The 2002 edition of NFPA 25, Inspection Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, contains many changes.

Sample Testing Sprinklers

Dry type sprinklers should be sample tested or replaced after 10 years of service. Previously we were only concerned about testing sprinklers (wet or dry) that were 50 years or older. Also any type of sprinkler exposed to a harsh environment (ex. corrosive water supply) is required to be tested every 5 years.

Inspector’s Test Alarm and 2-inch Drain Flow Test Frequency

Valve supervisory equipment and paddle-type, water flow switches must be tested semiannually. However quarterly testing of water-motor gongs and pressure-type alarm switches is still required because these devices clog.

Another test to ensure the availability of water is the 2 inch drain test. This is when the main drain is opened to allow a large amount of water to flow through. This should be done annually or after the completion of work on a sprinkler system. The new change requires that one system downstream of any backflow or pressure reducing device on a sole-source supply should be tested quarterly.

Random Internal Inspection

Random internal inspection of sprinkler system piping should be conducted every 5 years. This involves removing a flushing connection cap from the end of one main and a sprinkler near the end of one branch line, and looking inside. If there are indications of scale, obstructions or welding coupons than a more complete investigation is necessary. If during the investigation it appears that slime or tubercles are discovered than the system should be tested for MIC.

If you have any questions regarding these changes please contact Risk Logic.