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Fire Protection FAQs

Are you preparing to upgrade or install a fire system in your Detroit facility? As you explore your options, you’re likely to 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 assist you!

Fire Suppression Questions

Are Fire Suppression Systems the Same as Sprinklers?

Fire sprinklers use water to put out specific types of fire, whereas a fire suppression system delivers clean agent chemicals in order to suppress fires without potentially harming water-sensitive equipment and materials.

What Are Clean Agents?

An engineered gaseous fire extinguishing agent suppresses fires in one of a few ways. The most common application of a clean agent is removing oxygen from the environment, which effectively stifles flames.

How Does Kitchen Fire Suppression Work?

Kitchen suppression systems use a unique chemical that facilitates a process called saponification. Essentially, a chemical converts fats, grease, and oils into harmless, non-flammable salts.

Emergency Lighting Questions

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?

Lights must be capable of remaining active for 90 minutes in the event of an emergency. Inspections will confirm the effectiveness of your batteries—most emergency light batteries last a minimum of four 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 Sprinklers Questions

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.

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.

Do Fire Sprinklers Cause Water 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.

Fire Alarms Questions

What Types of Smoke Detectors Are There?

Smoke detectors come in two types: ionization and photoelectric. The former is better for detecting faster, out-of-control fires. Photoelectric is best known for detecting smoldering, smoke-producing fires.

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.

Fire Extinguishers Questions

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?

The answer to 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.

Inspection Code Requirements Questions

With more than 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.

When Replacing Sprinklers, Is a Hydrostatic Test Necessary?

If just the sprinkler head is replaced, and the pipe is not 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 5.3.1.2, one percent of each type of sprinkler must be removed and sent to the lab for testing, but no less than 4 total. If your system has 500 sprinklers, with 400 upright and 100 pendant sprinklers, 4 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.

Do Standpipe Systems Need Periodic Hydrostatic Testing?

Dry standpipes must receive hydrostatic testing every five years. Wet standpipes do not require testing as leaks can be visually identified.

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.

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 is 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 is required annually or any time the water supply control valve is closed, such as during maintenance or repairs.

Do you have more questions about code requirements? Call 313-255-0053 or contact our experts online today.

Why Choose Fire Systems of Michigan for Industrial Fire Protection Services?

Since 1984, Fire Systems of Michigan has been providing comprehensive fire protection coverage to businesses in Detroit, MI and the surrounding communities. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the highest degree of safety possible, arming businesses with the tools, knowledge, and support necessary to create a safe and secure environment.

If you need fire protection services in Detroit, call 313-255-0053 or contact Fire Systems of Michigan online!

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