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How to Handle a Broken Fire Sprinkler

Posted on: April 1, 2017

You work hard to keep your building safe. As such, you may have a sprinkler system in place to respond automatically in case of a fire. Sprinklers are a preferred fire protection method in most residential and commercial buildings, reducing fire damage by an average of 60 percent compared to buildings without this protection measure in place.

However, if a sprinkler head breaks or is accidentally bumped, significant water damage may occur. With proper preparation and the right tools on hand, you can minimize property damage if a sprinkler head discharges when there’s no fire.

Prepare for the Possibility of a Broken Sprinkler

The most effective way to mitigate water damage from a broken sprinkler is to have a plan of action. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Work with your HR manager, a health and safety office, or a special committee to establish emergency water shut-off procedures.
  • Designate specific employees to implement emergency water shut-off procedures when necessary. Select people who work different shifts to ensure around-the-clock protection for your facility.
  • Hire a qualified sprinkler technician to teach your designated employees how to handle a broken sprinkler.
  • Post a “contact tree” in an easily accessible area. Include phone numbers for the local fire department, senior company management, your fire alarm monitoring company, a fire protection company like Confires, and your insurance provider. Make sure your designated employees know who to contact first once the water flow stops.

Respond Quickly to a Broken Sprinkler Head

Several devices are available to quickly block the flow of water from a single activated sprinkler head. These devices are meant as a temporary solution only. Once the water stops, you should promptly contact Confires to repair or replace the damaged sprinkler and inspect the rest of the system for any problems.

Examples of commercial sprinkler shut-off tools:

  • Sprinkler Stop Valve: Insert this simple tool into the open sprinkler head and turn the valve to stop the water flow.
  • Shutgun Sprinkler Shutoff Tool: This pocket-sized device blocks water flowing from standard and semi-recessed commercial sprinkler heads.
  • Quickstop “Talon” Tool: Whether the 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch sprinkler head is intact, damaged, or sheared, this device will stop the flow of water. Remote operation is possible with the included 12-foot telescoping handle.

NOTE: Confires doesn’t recommend any particular sprinkler shut-off tool.

Keep Your Sprinkler System Working Properly

While it’s wise to be prepared, the best scenario is to avoid a broken sprinkler altogether. Here’s how:

  • Schedule fire sprinkler inspections with Confires.
  • Repair your sprinklers if any problems are uncovered during maintenance.
  • Never paint over or hang anything from a sprinkler head.
  • Take care not to bump sprinkler heads.

Schedule Fire Sprinkler Services

Whether you need your sprinkler system inspected, maintained, repaired, or replaced, count on Confires for all the services you need. We have over 30 years of experience in the fire protection industry and can ensure your fire sprinklers remain in good condition. To schedule services, please contact us online or by phone at 888-228-0917 today!

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