Fire Protection FAQs
Are you preparing to upgrade or install a fire system in your Detroit facility? As you explore your options, you may become overwhelmed with questions. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of common questions about fire protection systems.
If you don’t see your question below, contact Fire Systems of Michigan. Our expert team members are ready to help.
Fire Sprinkler FAQs
Do fire sprinklers cause damage?
They can, but sprinkler systems are designed to go off only at the site where fire is present — sprinklers do not activate throughout the entire facility at once.
Do commercial fire sprinklers need electricity to work?
No. Commercial fire sprinklers work with pressure. They’re activated by the heat of a fire, which causes a heat-sensitive element in a sprinkler head to melt or break, releasing water.
Some advanced fire sprinkler systems use electricity for specific valves and pumps, but most operate solely by activating heat-sensitive components.
Does smoke set off fire sprinklers?
When working properly, fire sprinklers should only be set off by heat. The industry standard is between 155 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
When replacing sprinklers, is a hydrostatic test necessary?
If just the sprinkler head is replaced, and the pipe isn’t modified, a hydrostatic test may not be required. Check with your local fire marshal or AHJ to ensure compliance with local fire codes.
How many sprinklers must be removed from a system for testing?
According to Section 126.96.36.199, 1% of each type of sprinkler must be removed and sent to the lab for testing, but no less than four total. If your system has 500 sprinklers, with 400 upright and 100 pendant sprinklers, four of each would need to be sent in.
Can bags be used to protect sprinklers from dust and other contaminants?
In most cases, no, bags are not permitted to cover the sprinkler heads. In areas where spray coating occurs, paper bags or plastic bags of 0.003 inches or greater are permissible during spraying.
Fire Extinguisher FAQs
How do I use a fire extinguisher?
Here are some steps to follow, but they may vary based on the extinguisher at your facility. It’s always best to notify the fire department of a fire so they can assist you in what should be done and send help as needed.
- Pull the pin to release the lock or seal.
- Aim the nozzle of the extinguisher low, pointing at the base of the flame.
- Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- Move the nozzle from left to right covering the base of the flames until the fire dies out.
- Watch the fire to make sure it does not reignite.
What are the classes of fire extinguishers?
Extinguisher types include A, B, C, D, and the special K type used in commercial kitchens. As a general rule, A is for standard fires, B is for flammable liquids, C is for electrical fires, and D is for combustible metals.
How many fire extinguishers do I need?
This is determined by building size, number of floors, and general layout. It’s best to confer with a fire protection specialist to find out precisely how many you need.
When do fire extinguishers need inspections?
You should perform a simple visual inspection monthly, and lean on the experience of professionals for quarterly, semiannual, and annual fire extinguisher inspections.
Fire Alarm FAQs
What are the benefits of installing a fire alarm system?
Fire alarms are designed to detect heat, smoke, and other signs of an active fire at your office building, apartment complex, or other commercial facility. As fires can engulf a structure in minutes, every second counts when it comes to evacuating the building as quickly as possible.
What is fire alarm monitoring?
Alarms equipped with monitoring will notify emergency services automatically as soon as the alarm activates in order to improve response times.
Why is my fire alarm beeping?
Consistent beeping or “chirping” indicates a need for battery replacement. If the alarm is beeping seemingly at random intervals, we highly recommend calling for fire alarm repairs.
What types of smoke detectors are there for my business?
You can now buy wired and wireless smoke detectors for your commercial property. Smoke detectors come in two types: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization smoke detectors use a small amount of radioactive material to detect smoke and are more responsive to flaming fires.
Photoelectric detectors use a light sensor to detect smoke particles interrupting their light beam. They’re better at sensing smoldering fires. Each type offers different advantages and is suitable for varying fire detection needs.
Fire Suppression FAQs
How does commercial kitchen fire suppression work?
Commercial kitchen fire suppression systems use a combination of wet chemicals and a mechanism to automatically shut off the fuel or energy supply to cooking equipment, quickly extinguishing grease and oil fires and preventing re-ignition.
How do I prevent a fire in my commercial kitchen?
Prevent commercial kitchen fires by:
- Following NFPA requirements for inspections semi-annually
- Performing repairs as needed
- Training every kitchen worker on how to activate or use fire suppression and extinguisher systems
- Scheduling a fire safety training every year
Emergency Lighting FAQs
Are there benefits to emergency lighting?
Emergency and exit lighting provide a clear, well-lit path to facilitate safe evacuation. The presence of emergency lighting minimizes confusion and chaos, leading to safer and more successful egress.
Do emergency lights need battery replacement?
Lead-sealed batteries last about four to five years but the new style e-lights come with Ni-Cad batteries, which can last up to 10 years.
What determines emergency lighting codes?
Codes regarding commercial emergency lighting are set by the NFPA, local and state electrical codes, and by local AHJs.
Fire Pump FAQs
Do I need a fire pump?
Fire pumps are necessary for businesses that lack adequate municipal water pressure, or buildings that are tall enough to warrant a need for additional pumping power.
Is water near the base plate of the fire pump normal?
Small amounts of water near the base plate drain should be expected, as the packing glands use water for lubrication. About one drop per second is normal.
Inspection Code Requirements FAQs
With over 40 years of experience, our team at Fire Systems of Michigan is happy to answer all your questions about fire protection equipment and code requirements. Here are our responses to some of the most common questions we receive:
What testing is needed when a fire protection component is repaired or rebuilt?
NFPA 25 requires that a repaired or rebuilt component pass the same test as when it was originally certified. Reference the installation standard for the original component.
Do standpipe systems need periodic hydrostatic testing?
Dry standpipes must receive hydrostatic testing every five years. Wet standpipes don’t require testing, as leaks can be visually identified.
Peak performance of our fire pump has dropped since the initial acceptance test. Is this normal?
Make sure all valves in the suction side and test header are open. A small reduction in performance is normal with regular wear, but if it’s significantly lower, you may want to have the fire pump inspected further.
As long as peak performance is enough to meet the maximum system demand, the fire pump is performing sufficiently.
When is a main drain test required?
It’s required annually or any time the water supply control valve is closed, such as during maintenance or repairs.