• All
  • Backflow Services
  • Extinguisher Services
  • Fire Alarm Services
  • Fire Hydrant Services
  • Fire Pump Services
  • Fire Sprinkler Standpipe Services
  • Kitchen Suppression Services
  • Mechanical Plumbing Services
  • Underground Piping Services
Q

What is a backflow device?

A

A backflow device is a series of check valves, and air inlet or relief valves designed to stop the backward flow of water in a piping system. Its primary function is to protect the potable water supply (drinking water).

Q

How often do I have to test it?

A

The State of California mandates that backflow devices be tested at least annually.

Q

What do I have to do if the device fails?

A

After the test is completed, any devices that fail would need to be repaired & re-tested to meet the minimum testing requirements.

Q

Why am I being asked to install a backflow device?

A

The Health Dept. and local water purveyor will work in conjunction with each other to protect public health and the potable water supply. Once an inspection is made and there is a possible unprotected backflow condition (cross connection), you will be asked to install an approved backflow device to eliminate the cross connection hazard.

Q

Why do I have to replace the shut off valves?

A

Shut off valves are a critical component of an approved backflow device. If these valves leak, or are broken, there will be no way to perform an accurate test on the backflow device. These valves are in place so the required testing can be performed.

Q

Are plumbing companies the only companies that test backflow devices?

A

Anyone can test backflow devices, but they must first obtain a backflow tester certification/license. Anyone who completes the required course, has the required test equipment, and has shown hands-on proficiency at testing backflow devices can be certified. Having a plumbing license does not give you the authority to test and certify backflow devices. You would still have to complete the required courses.

Q

How often do I have to have my fire extinguishers serviced?

A

Fire extinguishers are to be inspected at least once a year, in accordance with the California Code of Regulations Title 19. Fire extinguishers are also required to be re-charged once they have been used.

Q

Can anybody service a fire extinguisher?

A

Fire extinguishers can only be serviced & certified by an individual who holds a license from the State Fire Marshal and who is employed by a company who also holds a license by the State Fire Marshal. Title 19 makes a provision for a limited fire extinguisher servicing license for public or private entities not engaged in the business, nor performing for a fee, specific acts pursuant to section 595.5 (A) (7) of servicing their own portable fire extinguishers.

Q

What is a hydrostatic test and do I have to do it?

A

A hydrostatic test is a pressure test of fire extinguisher cylinder, required by one or more authorities. The hydrostatic test is designed to verify the integrity of the compressed gas cylinder. Once a hydrostatic test becomes due on a fire extinguisher cylinder, that fire extinguisher is no longer authorized to be certified until the cylinder passes the required hydrostatic test.

Q

Why would I go to the expense of buying a clean agent fire extinguisher?

A

The majority of fire extinguishers used today are dry chemical type. They are inexpensive while providing excellent fire protection. They do, however, leave quite a mess to clean up after they have been used. This dry chemical in the wrong place would be disastrous. A clean agent fire extinguisher puts the fire out without leaving any residue and is ideal for computer rooms, sensitive electronic equipment, clean rooms, assembly areas and many other situations where clean up and damage from dry chemical would be an issue!

Q

Are there any other inspection requirements?

A

California Code of Regulations Title 19 does require a monthly inspection of the fire extinguishers by the building owner, occupant, or his/her authorized agent.

Q

Do you provide fire extinguisher training?

A

Yes we do! Fire Safety First provides complete fire extinguisher training to the level of your choice. From showing of a video on how to use a portable fire extinguisher to actual hands on training, allowing the participant to extinguish a live fire. Our fire extinguisher training gives each participant the knowledge & experience to be successful if the time came to use a portable fire extinguisher.

Q

How often am I required to test my fire alarm system?

A

National Fire Protection Association #72 requires all devices in a fire alarm system to be tested once a year. This can be accomplished all at one time or broken up into quarterly or semi-annual testing as long as all the devices are tested once a year. Hospitals have different testing requirements as they fall under the jurisdiction of Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.

Q

Why do I have to replace the batteries on the fire alarm panel when it has a battery charging system?

A

Batteries, no matter what application they are in will eventually lose their ability to hold a charge. Batteries in a fire alarm system have to be able to run the alarm system for a specified amount of time if the alarm system loses A/C power. NFPA 72 states batteries are to be replaced at specified intervals, per the manufacturers requirements.

Q

Why does my alarm system seem to have re-occurring trouble signals approximately the same time of day?

A

It is common at times to have the same re-occurring trouble or alarm signal come into the alarm panel. This reoccurring signal might come into the panel at approximately the same time each day. Many times when this happens, it is some other outside factor causing the problem. (I.e. irrigation water getting into an exposed junction box). In order to properly troubleshoot a problem, it is very important to understand what is causing it.

Q

Does a licensed company have to test my fire alarm system?

A

The California Code of Regulations requires that fire alarm systems be inspected and tested by appropriately licensed fire protection companies.

Q

Do ground faults compromise my fire alarm system?

A

Fire alarm systems are designed to be ground fault tolerant, which means the fire alarm will work with ground faults on the panel. It is however, important to fix the ground fault before it damages the alarm panel. Leaving a ground fault puts stress on the charging system and will eventually shorten the battery life.

Q

Why am I getting calls in the middle of the night from the monitoring company?

A

Fire alarm systems have a timer test that verifies that both phone lines are connected and able to call out. This test is conducted at least once every 24 hours. If there is a problem with the phone lines, you will receive a call from the monitoring station.

Q

Whats the difference between a public hydrant & a private hydrant?

A

Public hydrants belong to the water district or city. They are responsible to test and maintain their fire hydrants. Public hydrants are what you see as you go down the street. Private hydrants are on private property. The property owner is responsible to test and maintain their hydrants per the fire code.

Q

Do I have to test my private fire hydrant?

A

NFPA and local codes require property owners to exercise and operate their fire hydrant, flow test at specified intervals and properly paint them to identify them as a private fire hydrant.

Q

Are there different types of hydrants?

A

The fire hydrant control valve is specifically installed to isolate each individual fire hydrant. These valves must be identified and located so proper maintenance and or emergency shut down, can be performed on the fire hydrant, without shutting down the whole fire protection system.

Q

Why do I see hydrants painted many different colors?

A

Public fire hydrants that you see on the streets have no requirements on the color. A city or water district can pick a color of their choice. On the other hand, private fire hydrants are required to be painted red. A red fire hydrant lets fire department personnel know they are connecting to a private fire protection system.

Q

What is the blue reflective hydrant marker for?

A

Fire hydrants can be difficult to be seen at night. The blue reflective hydrant markers sole purpose is to help the fire department save valuable time in locating fire hydrants in an emergency. These reflective markers can be seen from several hundred feet away as the light from vehicles reflect off of them.

Q

How often does my Fire Pump have to be tested?

A

NFPA and most insurance companies require an annual performance test on the fire pump. This test is designed to put the pump through its full range of capabilities to verify that it is working properly. This performance test not only verifies the pump is working, but also all of the ancillary components as well. Some of the functions verified will be pump output, amperage, RPM, temperature, voltage, relief valves, tank fill valves, start & stop pressures.

Q

Should I run my Fire Pump?

A

NFPA and most insurance companies require the pump to be started and run once a week with a minimum run time of 30 minutes. This test does not need to be completed by a licensed contractor. And employee with proper training can handle the weekly fire pump runs.

Q

Why do I have ( 2 ) Fire Pumps?

A

Redundancy is the primary reason. Fire pumps are costly to install and maintain, so there are driving factors on why a fire pump is installed. Once a fire pump is needed for a specific application, it now becomes the heart of the fire protection system. If the pump fails, the fire protection system would be greatly diminished or non existent. The 2nd fire pump helps to insure that the fire protection system will remain viable in a fire emergency.

Q

Why are the relief valves so important?

A

Relief valves are a critical component of a fire pump installation. When the fire pump turns on, it will continue to run until someone manually turns it off, or the run time is satisfied. Without the relief valve, it is likely the fire pump would overheat causing significant damage or need for replacement. Relief valves also stop the over pressurization of the fire protection system by relieving excess pressure.

Q

What is the Jockey Pump?

A

Jockey pumps are very small pumps designed to maintain the pressure in the fire protection system. Without these small jockey pumps, the main fire pump would always turn on every time there is a drop in pressure in the fire protection system. This would cause false alarms and unnecessary activation of the fire pump.

Q

Do I have to do any inspection on my fire water storage tank?

A

Yes you do! Fire water storage tanks are required to be externally & internally inspected every 3  5 years, depending on the type of tank. Water storage tanks collect debris, sediment, and aquatic growth, which need to be cleaned out. The storage tank also needs to be inspected to verify the waterproofing or corrosion protection is doing its job, looking for signs of corrosion, rotting, or other forms of deterioration. Low & high water alarms need to be tested along with automatic fill valves. All the functions of the water storage tank need to be verified that they are working properly.

Q

What is a 5-Year test?

A

A 5-Year test is a thorough inspection and test of the fire sprinkler / standpipe system required by the California Administrative Code Title 19. This inspection and test covers all components of the system. Any deficiencies found as a result of this inspection, must be corrected or repaired before the system can receive its certification. Title 19 requires that this test be conducted by a licensed fire protection contractor or an entity licensed to inspect these types of systems. After testing and repairs are completed, a 5-Year certificate tag is affixed to the fire sprinkler riser.

Q

Are there other requirements to test or inspect my fire sprinkler / standpipe system?

A

California Administrative Code Title 19 also requires a quarterly inspection of the fire sprinkler system. This is primarily a visual inspection designed to verify that the fire sprinkler system will operate when needed. Title 19 also requires an annual test which includes the quarterly visual inspection but also actually testing specific components of the system to verify they are working properly. Upon completion of the annual test, a certification tag is affixed to the fire sprinkler riser.

Q

What is a main drain test?

A

A main drain test is to verify the water supply piping is open and not turned off or obstructed. The water pressure is noted before, during, and after the main drain valve is fully opened and closed. An abnormal drop in pressure might indicate a closed supply valve in the system or possibly an obstruction in the underground piping.

Q

My insurance company is asking us to perform earthquake bracing upgrades?

A

Earthquake bracing is designed to hold the fire sprinkler piping in place during an earthquake. NFPA 13 has long required earthquake bracing in areas of the country that have earthquake activity. Unfortunately, earthquake bracing was not always installed in the older systems. Recent earthquake (in the last 20 years), have caused a significant amount of damage to fire sprinkler systems, this has caught the attention of many insurance companies.

Q

How do I turn the water off in an emergency?

A

Typically, there is an accessible above ground valve available to shut down the water to the fire protection system. The (2) most common types of shut off valves are PIV (post indicator valve) and OS&Y valve (outside screw & yoke). PIVs are a red post sticking up out of the ground with a window showing an open & shut sign. Break the lock, take the handle and turn until the shut sigh appears in the window. OS&Y valves have big hand wheels that you must turn, causing the outside stem to rise and lower. The OS&Y is open when the stem is all the way up and shut when the stem is all the way down flush with the hand wheel. All fire protection valves, regardless of type need to be clearly identified as to what they shut down.

Q

Do all of the fire sprinklers go off when one head goes off?

A

Contrary to what Hollywood portrays in their movies, fire sprinkler heads do not all discharge at the same time. There are some very specialized fire sprinkler systems called deluge systems that all the fire sprinkler heads do discharge at one time, but these systems are few and far between. The vast majority of fire sprinkler systems are designed for each individual fire sprinkler head to fuse (melt) in order to discharge water from it. Over 93% of the time when a fire sprinkler system discharges, it controls or extinguishes the fire with (3) sprinkler heads or less activating.

Q

How often am I required to inspect my kitchen system?

A

Engineered and pre-engineered fixed extinguishing systems are required to be tested, inspected and maintained semi-annually or after system activation.

Q

What is a hydrostatic test and do I have to do it?

A

A hydrostatic test is a pressure test of system cylinder, required by one or more authorities. The hydrostatic test is designed to verify the integrity of the compressed gas cylinder. Once a hydrostatic test becomes due on a system cylinder, that system is no longer authorized to be certified until the cylinder passes the required hydrostatic test.

Q

What is a U.L. 300 Upgrade?

A

The U.L. 300 Upgrade is a wet chemical system which is different from the older style dry chemical systems. These new wet chemical systems are designed to meet the challenge of extinguishing a fire involving vegetable based oils, by extinguishing and cooling the fire area so re-ignition cannot occur. Vegetable based oils burn hotter and are more difficult to extinguish than fires involving animal fat. When for health reasons, the restaurant industry switched from animal fat to vegetable oil, there was a need to change the requirements on pre-engineered restaurant suppression systems to meet the new fire challenge.

Q

Why do I have to replace fuse links?

A

Fusible Links are one of the most critical components of a kitchen fire suppression system. Many factors can inhibit the fusible link from working properly. NFPA requires the fusible links to be replaced semi-annually, but other factors such as grease build up, could cause the need for them to be replaced sooner.

Q

Why do I have to modify my system because I change the cook line appliance?

A

Kitchen fire systems are pre-engineered from the manufacturer. The manufacturer will give parameters on the limitations of the system. The system will function properly if it is installed within the pre-engineered design parameter. When a kitchen system is installed the type of appliances are taken into account. Each appliance might take a specific type of nozzle to properly protect it. When you change the order of the appliances in a cook line, or change to a different type of appliance, it will typically require a change to the fire suppression system to stay within the manufacturers pre-engineered design parameters.

Q

What is grease cleaning?

A

Grease cleaning is the process of removing the accumulation of grease build up in the plentum & duct areas of a commercial cooking hood. This accumulation of grease now becomes fuel if a fire does occur. The systematic removal of this grease accumulation will ensure that if the kitchen fire system does activate, that it will extinguish the fire like it is designed to do. It is possible for a kitchen fire system to operate properly but not extinguish the fire because there was not a proper grease cleaning schedule to keep the grease/fuel from accumulating.

Q

Why do I have low water pressure to my building?

A

It is possible that you just have low pressure from the water department. But the majority of the time you have a regular that needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Regulators take higher pressure and decrease it to save water. If these regulators are not maintained, they will get to a point where they will not function properly and hang up causing a pressure drop to the system.

Q

I have a pump that is leaking, do I have to replace it?

A

Pumps for domestic water typically have mechanical seals on the pump shafts. If these start leaking, it is as simple as replacing the seals. When seals leak for long periods of time, they usually cause other problems, so its smarter to replace a leaking seal sooner, rather than later.

Q

I have good water pressure to the sink but not the toilet, why?

A

When you have varying pressures to different water fixtures in the same room, something is happening at the effected water fixture. Either a valve is broken or semi-turned off or there is something clogging the water fixture. Many times it is a corrosion blockage that will decrease the water flow to a water fixture.

Q

Why does my water pressure drop drastically when I use water?

A

Having a noticeable pressure drop when you start to flow water could mean a variety of problems, but the two most common would be first, a valve is broken or partially closed, or second, a regulator needs to be rebuilt.

Q

Should I inspect or test my water system piping?

A

It is important to inspect the plumbing system and operate and or test specific components. Valving should be operated/exercised, relief valves exercised, regulator inspected/tested, piping inspected (if accessible).

Q

Why did my underground piping fail?

A

Underground piping many times will fail just because of age. Sometimes the failure rate is accelerated by other factors such as, electrical power in close proximity to the underground piping, water, or incorrect type of pipe for the application.

Q

Why is it so expensive to repair?

A

Many times, the majority of the cost has nothing to do with repairing the piping but everything that is on top or to the side of the piping. Asphalt or concrete has to be saw cut and taken out of the way, you need to have excavation equipment take out the dirt, wet dirt has to be hauled away, dry dirt brought in, you have to re-compact the affected area and replace the asphalt or concrete.

Q

Why do I have to pressure test more piping than what was repaired?

A

Many fire departments want to see a hydrostatic test all the way back to the control valve. Once there has been a failure to the underground piping, they want to verify that the rest of the existing piping will not fail in an emergency.

Q

What is a corrosion inhibitor for?

A

A corrosion inhibitor is a coating that is applied to the metallic fittings & piping that will stop or slow the corrosion process.

Q

Why do we need a leak locator?

A

Many times water can travel underground before it will break the surface of the ground. Sometimes an underground leak can be hundreds of feet away from where it comes out of the ground. A leak detection company will pinpoint exactly where a leak is located so time & money are not wasted guessing where the leak might be.

Q

What is a backflow device?

A

A backflow device is a series of check valves, and air inlet or relief valves designed to stop the backward flow of water in a piping system. Its primary function is to protect the potable water supply (drinking water).

Q

How often do I have to test it?

A

The State of California mandates that backflow devices be tested at least annually.

Q

What do I have to do if the device fails?

A

After the test is completed, any devices that fail would need to be repaired & re-tested to meet the minimum testing requirements.

Q

Why am I being asked to install a backflow device?

A

The Health Dept. and local water purveyor will work in conjunction with each other to protect public health and the potable water supply. Once an inspection is made and there is a possible unprotected backflow condition (cross connection), you will be asked to install an approved backflow device to eliminate the cross connection hazard.

Q

Why do I have to replace the shut off valves?

A

Shut off valves are a critical component of an approved backflow device. If these valves leak, or are broken, there will be no way to perform an accurate test on the backflow device. These valves are in place so the required testing can be performed.

Q

Are plumbing companies the only companies that test backflow devices?

A

Anyone can test backflow devices, but they must first obtain a backflow tester certification/license. Anyone who completes the required course, has the required test equipment, and has shown hands-on proficiency at testing backflow devices can be certified. Having a plumbing license does not give you the authority to test and certify backflow devices. You would still have to complete the required courses.

Q

How often do I have to have my fire extinguishers serviced?

A

Fire extinguishers are to be inspected at least once a year, in accordance with the California Code of Regulations Title 19. Fire extinguishers are also required to be re-charged once they have been used.

Q

Can anybody service a fire extinguisher?

A

Fire extinguishers can only be serviced & certified by an individual who holds a license from the State Fire Marshal and who is employed by a company who also holds a license by the State Fire Marshal. Title 19 makes a provision for a limited fire extinguisher servicing license for public or private entities not engaged in the business, nor performing for a fee, specific acts pursuant to section 595.5 (A) (7) of servicing their own portable fire extinguishers.

Q

What is a hydrostatic test and do I have to do it?

A

A hydrostatic test is a pressure test of fire extinguisher cylinder, required by one or more authorities. The hydrostatic test is designed to verify the integrity of the compressed gas cylinder. Once a hydrostatic test becomes due on a fire extinguisher cylinder, that fire extinguisher is no longer authorized to be certified until the cylinder passes the required hydrostatic test.

Q

Why would I go to the expense of buying a clean agent fire extinguisher?

A

The majority of fire extinguishers used today are dry chemical type. They are inexpensive while providing excellent fire protection. They do, however, leave quite a mess to clean up after they have been used. This dry chemical in the wrong place would be disastrous. A clean agent fire extinguisher puts the fire out without leaving any residue and is ideal for computer rooms, sensitive electronic equipment, clean rooms, assembly areas and many other situations where clean up and damage from dry chemical would be an issue!

Q

Are there any other inspection requirements?

A

California Code of Regulations Title 19 does require a monthly inspection of the fire extinguishers by the building owner, occupant, or his/her authorized agent.

Q

Do you provide fire extinguisher training?

A

Yes we do! Fire Safety First provides complete fire extinguisher training to the level of your choice. From showing of a video on how to use a portable fire extinguisher to actual hands on training, allowing the participant to extinguish a live fire. Our fire extinguisher training gives each participant the knowledge & experience to be successful if the time came to use a portable fire extinguisher.

Q

How often am I required to test my fire alarm system?

A

National Fire Protection Association #72 requires all devices in a fire alarm system to be tested once a year. This can be accomplished all at one time or broken up into quarterly or semi-annual testing as long as all the devices are tested once a year. Hospitals have different testing requirements as they fall under the jurisdiction of Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations.

Q

Why do I have to replace the batteries on the fire alarm panel when it has a battery charging system?

A

Batteries, no matter what application they are in will eventually lose their ability to hold a charge. Batteries in a fire alarm system have to be able to run the alarm system for a specified amount of time if the alarm system loses A/C power. NFPA 72 states batteries are to be replaced at specified intervals, per the manufacturers requirements.

Q

Why does my alarm system seem to have re-occurring trouble signals approximately the same time of day?

A

It is common at times to have the same re-occurring trouble or alarm signal come into the alarm panel. This reoccurring signal might come into the panel at approximately the same time each day. Many times when this happens, it is some other outside factor causing the problem. (I.e. irrigation water getting into an exposed junction box). In order to properly troubleshoot a problem, it is very important to understand what is causing it.

Q

Does a licensed company have to test my fire alarm system?

A

The California Code of Regulations requires that fire alarm systems be inspected and tested by appropriately licensed fire protection companies.

Q

Do ground faults compromise my fire alarm system?

A

Fire alarm systems are designed to be ground fault tolerant, which means the fire alarm will work with ground faults on the panel. It is however, important to fix the ground fault before it damages the alarm panel. Leaving a ground fault puts stress on the charging system and will eventually shorten the battery life.

Q

Why am I getting calls in the middle of the night from the monitoring company?

A

Fire alarm systems have a timer test that verifies that both phone lines are connected and able to call out. This test is conducted at least once every 24 hours. If there is a problem with the phone lines, you will receive a call from the monitoring station.

Q

Whats the difference between a public hydrant & a private hydrant?

A

Public hydrants belong to the water district or city. They are responsible to test and maintain their fire hydrants. Public hydrants are what you see as you go down the street. Private hydrants are on private property. The property owner is responsible to test and maintain their hydrants per the fire code.

Q

Do I have to test my private fire hydrant?

A

NFPA and local codes require property owners to exercise and operate their fire hydrant, flow test at specified intervals and properly paint them to identify them as a private fire hydrant.

Q

Are there different types of hydrants?

A

The fire hydrant control valve is specifically installed to isolate each individual fire hydrant. These valves must be identified and located so proper maintenance and or emergency shut down, can be performed on the fire hydrant, without shutting down the whole fire protection system.

Q

Why do I see hydrants painted many different colors?

A

Public fire hydrants that you see on the streets have no requirements on the color. A city or water district can pick a color of their choice. On the other hand, private fire hydrants are required to be painted red. A red fire hydrant lets fire department personnel know they are connecting to a private fire protection system.

Q

What is the blue reflective hydrant marker for?

A

Fire hydrants can be difficult to be seen at night. The blue reflective hydrant markers sole purpose is to help the fire department save valuable time in locating fire hydrants in an emergency. These reflective markers can be seen from several hundred feet away as the light from vehicles reflect off of them.

Q

How often does my Fire Pump have to be tested?

A

NFPA and most insurance companies require an annual performance test on the fire pump. This test is designed to put the pump through its full range of capabilities to verify that it is working properly. This performance test not only verifies the pump is working, but also all of the ancillary components as well. Some of the functions verified will be pump output, amperage, RPM, temperature, voltage, relief valves, tank fill valves, start & stop pressures.

Q

Should I run my Fire Pump?

A

NFPA and most insurance companies require the pump to be started and run once a week with a minimum run time of 30 minutes. This test does not need to be completed by a licensed contractor. And employee with proper training can handle the weekly fire pump runs.

Q

Why do I have ( 2 ) Fire Pumps?

A

Redundancy is the primary reason. Fire pumps are costly to install and maintain, so there are driving factors on why a fire pump is installed. Once a fire pump is needed for a specific application, it now becomes the heart of the fire protection system. If the pump fails, the fire protection system would be greatly diminished or non existent. The 2nd fire pump helps to insure that the fire protection system will remain viable in a fire emergency.

Q

Why are the relief valves so important?

A

Relief valves are a critical component of a fire pump installation. When the fire pump turns on, it will continue to run until someone manually turns it off, or the run time is satisfied. Without the relief valve, it is likely the fire pump would overheat causing significant damage or need for replacement. Relief valves also stop the over pressurization of the fire protection system by relieving excess pressure.

Q

What is the Jockey Pump?

A

Jockey pumps are very small pumps designed to maintain the pressure in the fire protection system. Without these small jockey pumps, the main fire pump would always turn on every time there is a drop in pressure in the fire protection system. This would cause false alarms and unnecessary activation of the fire pump.

Q

Do I have to do any inspection on my fire water storage tank?

A

Yes you do! Fire water storage tanks are required to be externally & internally inspected every 3  5 years, depending on the type of tank. Water storage tanks collect debris, sediment, and aquatic growth, which need to be cleaned out. The storage tank also needs to be inspected to verify the waterproofing or corrosion protection is doing its job, looking for signs of corrosion, rotting, or other forms of deterioration. Low & high water alarms need to be tested along with automatic fill valves. All the functions of the water storage tank need to be verified that they are working properly.

Q

What is a 5-Year test?

A

A 5-Year test is a thorough inspection and test of the fire sprinkler / standpipe system required by the California Administrative Code Title 19. This inspection and test covers all components of the system. Any deficiencies found as a result of this inspection, must be corrected or repaired before the system can receive its certification. Title 19 requires that this test be conducted by a licensed fire protection contractor or an entity licensed to inspect these types of systems. After testing and repairs are completed, a 5-Year certificate tag is affixed to the fire sprinkler riser.

Q

Are there other requirements to test or inspect my fire sprinkler / standpipe system?

A

California Administrative Code Title 19 also requires a quarterly inspection of the fire sprinkler system. This is primarily a visual inspection designed to verify that the fire sprinkler system will operate when needed. Title 19 also requires an annual test which includes the quarterly visual inspection but also actually testing specific components of the system to verify they are working properly. Upon completion of the annual test, a certification tag is affixed to the fire sprinkler riser.

Q

What is a main drain test?

A

A main drain test is to verify the water supply piping is open and not turned off or obstructed. The water pressure is noted before, during, and after the main drain valve is fully opened and closed. An abnormal drop in pressure might indicate a closed supply valve in the system or possibly an obstruction in the underground piping.

Q

My insurance company is asking us to perform earthquake bracing upgrades?

A

Earthquake bracing is designed to hold the fire sprinkler piping in place during an earthquake. NFPA 13 has long required earthquake bracing in areas of the country that have earthquake activity. Unfortunately, earthquake bracing was not always installed in the older systems. Recent earthquake (in the last 20 years), have caused a significant amount of damage to fire sprinkler systems, this has caught the attention of many insurance companies.

Q

How do I turn the water off in an emergency?

A

Typically, there is an accessible above ground valve available to shut down the water to the fire protection system. The (2) most common types of shut off valves are PIV (post indicator valve) and OS&Y valve (outside screw & yoke). PIVs are a red post sticking up out of the ground with a window showing an open & shut sign. Break the lock, take the handle and turn until the shut sigh appears in the window. OS&Y valves have big hand wheels that you must turn, causing the outside stem to rise and lower. The OS&Y is open when the stem is all the way up and shut when the stem is all the way down flush with the hand wheel. All fire protection valves, regardless of type need to be clearly identified as to what they shut down.

Q

Do all of the fire sprinklers go off when one head goes off?

A

Contrary to what Hollywood portrays in their movies, fire sprinkler heads do not all discharge at the same time. There are some very specialized fire sprinkler systems called deluge systems that all the fire sprinkler heads do discharge at one time, but these systems are few and far between. The vast majority of fire sprinkler systems are designed for each individual fire sprinkler head to fuse (melt) in order to discharge water from it. Over 93% of the time when a fire sprinkler system discharges, it controls or extinguishes the fire with (3) sprinkler heads or less activating.

Q

How often am I required to inspect my kitchen system?

A

Engineered and pre-engineered fixed extinguishing systems are required to be tested, inspected and maintained semi-annually or after system activation.

Q

What is a hydrostatic test and do I have to do it?

A

A hydrostatic test is a pressure test of system cylinder, required by one or more authorities. The hydrostatic test is designed to verify the integrity of the compressed gas cylinder. Once a hydrostatic test becomes due on a system cylinder, that system is no longer authorized to be certified until the cylinder passes the required hydrostatic test.

Q

What is a U.L. 300 Upgrade?

A

The U.L. 300 Upgrade is a wet chemical system which is different from the older style dry chemical systems. These new wet chemical systems are designed to meet the challenge of extinguishing a fire involving vegetable based oils, by extinguishing and cooling the fire area so re-ignition cannot occur. Vegetable based oils burn hotter and are more difficult to extinguish than fires involving animal fat. When for health reasons, the restaurant industry switched from animal fat to vegetable oil, there was a need to change the requirements on pre-engineered restaurant suppression systems to meet the new fire challenge.

Q

Why do I have to replace fuse links?

A

Fusible Links are one of the most critical components of a kitchen fire suppression system. Many factors can inhibit the fusible link from working properly. NFPA requires the fusible links to be replaced semi-annually, but other factors such as grease build up, could cause the need for them to be replaced sooner.

Q

Why do I have to modify my system because I change the cook line appliance?

A

Kitchen fire systems are pre-engineered from the manufacturer. The manufacturer will give parameters on the limitations of the system. The system will function properly if it is installed within the pre-engineered design parameter. When a kitchen system is installed the type of appliances are taken into account. Each appliance might take a specific type of nozzle to properly protect it. When you change the order of the appliances in a cook line, or change to a different type of appliance, it will typically require a change to the fire suppression system to stay within the manufacturers pre-engineered design parameters.

Q

What is grease cleaning?

A

Grease cleaning is the process of removing the accumulation of grease build up in the plentum & duct areas of a commercial cooking hood. This accumulation of grease now becomes fuel if a fire does occur. The systematic removal of this grease accumulation will ensure that if the kitchen fire system does activate, that it will extinguish the fire like it is designed to do. It is possible for a kitchen fire system to operate properly but not extinguish the fire because there was not a proper grease cleaning schedule to keep the grease/fuel from accumulating.

Q

Why do I have low water pressure to my building?

A

It is possible that you just have low pressure from the water department. But the majority of the time you have a regular that needs to be rebuilt or replaced. Regulators take higher pressure and decrease it to save water. If these regulators are not maintained, they will get to a point where they will not function properly and hang up causing a pressure drop to the system.

Q

I have a pump that is leaking, do I have to replace it?

A

Pumps for domestic water typically have mechanical seals on the pump shafts. If these start leaking, it is as simple as replacing the seals. When seals leak for long periods of time, they usually cause other problems, so its smarter to replace a leaking seal sooner, rather than later.

Q

I have good water pressure to the sink but not the toilet, why?

A

When you have varying pressures to different water fixtures in the same room, something is happening at the effected water fixture. Either a valve is broken or semi-turned off or there is something clogging the water fixture. Many times it is a corrosion blockage that will decrease the water flow to a water fixture.

Q

Why does my water pressure drop drastically when I use water?

A

Having a noticeable pressure drop when you start to flow water could mean a variety of problems, but the two most common would be first, a valve is broken or partially closed, or second, a regulator needs to be rebuilt.

Q

Should I inspect or test my water system piping?

A

It is important to inspect the plumbing system and operate and or test specific components. Valving should be operated/exercised, relief valves exercised, regulator inspected/tested, piping inspected (if accessible).

Q

Why did my underground piping fail?

A

Underground piping many times will fail just because of age. Sometimes the failure rate is accelerated by other factors such as, electrical power in close proximity to the underground piping, water, or incorrect type of pipe for the application.

Q

Why is it so expensive to repair?

A

Many times, the majority of the cost has nothing to do with repairing the piping but everything that is on top or to the side of the piping. Asphalt or concrete has to be saw cut and taken out of the way, you need to have excavation equipment take out the dirt, wet dirt has to be hauled away, dry dirt brought in, you have to re-compact the affected area and replace the asphalt or concrete.

Q

Why do I have to pressure test more piping than what was repaired?

A

Many fire departments want to see a hydrostatic test all the way back to the control valve. Once there has been a failure to the underground piping, they want to verify that the rest of the existing piping will not fail in an emergency.

Q

What is a corrosion inhibitor for?

A

A corrosion inhibitor is a coating that is applied to the metallic fittings & piping that will stop or slow the corrosion process.

Q

Why do we need a leak locator?

A

Many times water can travel underground before it will break the surface of the ground. Sometimes an underground leak can be hundreds of feet away from where it comes out of the ground. A leak detection company will pinpoint exactly where a leak is located so time & money are not wasted guessing where the leak might be.