Hurricane season is August through October and being prepared before the storm hits is as important as in inspection after the storm for the safety of your team, customers and financial stability. There are decisions to be made before the storm hits regarding what components to cut power too and what components to leave on. You must also consider things like chemical presence at your business and your neighbor’s businesses. Knowing what to check and test after the storm has subsided is just as important for the safety of everyone involved. Storms always increase the risk of fire due to the destruction and dismantling that occurs with high winds and rain.
After a storm, Facility managers could be unaware of issues with their fire sprinkler system because they are not always visible. One of the many tasks they face is ensuring their fire protection systems have not been damaged during a hurricane.
Damage to electrical systems is one of biggest culprits of fires and malfunctioning Fire Sprinkler and Fire Alarm Systems after a storm. Major flooding or heavy rain can cause damage to fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems leaving properties vulnerable to fire. The fires can originate from other businesses and properties nearby since storms often bring many threats such as wind, water, lightening and flying debris. A leading cause of electrical fires is when arcing occurs, this is when current jumps across a break in an electrical circuit, producing sparks and high heat.
Floodwaters can contain many compounds such as salt or mud that are harmful to fire protection systems and other electrical systems. These can remain hidden for some time if proper inspections are not performed.
A post-storm fire protection system recovery checklist
Here is an example of what we would inspect immediately after an intrusive storm:
- Testing fire sprinkler systems
- Checking Control Valves and Boards
- Checking pipes for breaks, damage, or disconnections
- Testing fire pumps and inspecting fuel tanks for water intrusion
- Testing fire alarm systems, including external notification and alarms
- Inspecting fire alarm lights, bells and control panels
- Checking emergency lights and exit lights for water damage and replacing all batteries
- Ensuring the system has no mud, water, and other debris
- Checking every fire extinguisher for damage including the pull pin, handle and gauge.
- We also provide general safety check of the entire facility as a turn key solution.
Many insurance companies will require proof that property owners took reasonable measures ahead of a storm to prevent fires during flooding and storms before they will cover a claim. A regular inspection is the financially responsible thing to help ensure a business satisfies their insurance carrier’s requirements before covering damage caused by a fire.
Hurricane Season 2020 is not over. We are in Houston, Texas and still operating under safety guidelines for your protection. Call for a pre storm inspection of your fire sprinklers, fire alarm system and general safety inspection. Your employees, customers, shareholders and probably your insurance company will thank you.