We talked in our previous post about the fire sprinklers and what not to do with them. Now it’s time to talk about the fire control panel and its role in monitoring the sprinklers.
In the layout of your fire sprinkler system are a number of valves with monitoring switches that send signals to the panel for detection. The control panel is typically monitored at an alarm company which will notify the fire department of any detected water flow or system problems and also notify the manager or management company when an alarm is detected, not just a fire alarm.
Its imperative that your fire control system be serviced routinely to determine if the system is operating correctly. These same companies, typically commercial fire protection companies, will offer PM service contracts and lay out what is covered in the service contract. Some companies will offer flow testing annually to make sure there is adequate water flow and provide written reports to your local municipality.
If there are trouble codes or problems with your fire control panel they should be addressed immediately so there is no interruption of service to your fire control system. Leaks within the system should also be repairs quickly to prevent further damage to individual units or the property itself.
A problem that developed many years ago at one of our area condominiums was a leak that was noticed in a flower bed. The landscape company was notified thinking it was simply a leaking sprinkler head. When the landscape company dug around and investigated it turned out to be a leak in a main line servicing the fire sprinkler system. This rather innocuous leak turned out to be a major problem requiring 48 hours of continuous work until the leak was repaired (it was the result of a large, decorative palm tree being planted too close to the line-as the tree and its root ball grew it ruptured the line). The lesson to be learned is address all leaks as soon as they’re noticed and be mindful of your decorative landscape.