Customizing Fire Sprinkler Solutions for Healthcare Buildings
Fires can happen anywhere, and the faster you can respond to them, the better. Hospitals and healthcare facilities have equipment that can overheat, flammable chemicals and people who might not be able to evacuate the building. These variables mean planning and maintaining your right fire sprinkler systems is critical.
Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems
There are a variety of fire sprinkler systems. The best option for you will depend on where you are planning to use it and the layout of your facility. These are the best types of fire sprinkler systems to use in healthcare settings:
Dry pipe systems: Dry pipe systems are used in locations where temperatures will fall below freezing. Instead of using water, dry pipe systems are filled with pressurized nitrogen. The air is released when the system is activated. Once all the air has escaped, a valve is opened, which floods the pipes with water. This system is an excellent option for morgues, parking garages and warehouses.
Wet pipe systems: A wet pipe system is the most commonly used fire sprinkler system. This system is best suited for environments with regulated temperatures. It includes pressurized pipes filled with water that activate the sprinkler heads when they reach a specific temperature. Only sprinkler heads that reach a set temperature will open, preventing every sprinkler in the system from going off and only deploying water where it’s needed. This is a smart choice for wards, patient rooms, operating rooms and most indoor areas in medical facilities.
Deluge system: Deluge systems are found in high-hazard spaces and must be able to handle a large amount of water and pressure. They’re mostly used in chemical and explosive storage, power plants, aircraft hangers, and other places with chemical and fire hazards. In healthcare facilities, a deluge system would be the best choice for labs, chemical storage facilities and areas housing important equipment that might pose a fire risk.
ESFR deluge system: Early suppression fast response (ESFR) deluge systems are used in large areas where racks are not required or present. This system might be helpful in big wards and corridors but is most commonly used in large storage warehouses.
In-rack deluge system: In-rack deluge systems support suppression needs without using other sprinkler systems. This deluge sprinkler system can be used in storage areas with pipes running between racks.
Pre-action systems: Pre-action fire sprinklers are a dry pipe system. No water is contained within the pipes — a pre-action valve holds the water in place. Once a fire is detected, the pre-action valve will open, allowing the water to flow through the sprinkler system. These systems work best in the same areas dry and wet pipe systems do.
Types of Fire Sprinkler Heads
The different heads you see on sprinkler systems are a deliberate part of fire sprinkler design. Each sprinkler head type has its advantages, spray range and uses. These are some of the best options to consider for your healthcare facility:
Pendant: Pendant sprinkler heads rise above the sprinkler system’s pipes. Pendant heads can vary to suit your needs. They can have corrosive-resistant finishes for added protection or be caged to prevent impact damage. In low-hazard areas, they can be calibrated to spray between 16 and 20 feet. For high-risk areas, they can spray water in a 14- to 15-foot radius in an unobstructed area for maximum water flow.
Upright: Upright sprinkler heads should be used in areas where significant coverage is required and where there may be obstructions. They come with their deflectors facing up in order to protect the heads from dust, foaming and debris. Nurse stations, waiting rooms, examination rooms and private patient rooms are the best places for this type of head.
Sidewall: These sprinkler heads are mounted on the sides of walls. They are most useful in areas that have no pipes between floors. They are effective in small areas like hallways and small rooms.
Bubbler: Bubbler sprinkler heads allow water to seep and soak everything in an entire room. They are incredibly effective at extinguishing fires but can cause damage. Bubbler heads are able to pour between a quarter of a gallon to 2 gallons of water per minute, depending on how you set them. Reception areas, areas with hazardous chemicals and places with good drainage are the best locations to put them.
The Importance of Cleaning Fire Sprinkler Heads
To ensure proper operation, your fire sprinklers should be clear of dust, paint, dirt and corrosion. Otherwise, the sprinklers’ heat-sensitive element may not be able to trigger during an emergency. This is a common compliance issue that can easily be taken care of with regular cleaning.
Hiring a professional cleaning service is the best way to keep your fire sprinkler heads in pristine condition. You can schedule regular fire sprinkler head cleaning services to avoid dirty sprinklers becoming a compliance or health issue.
Fire Sprinkler Maintenance Tips
Maintaining your fire sprinkler system is vital to protecting your staff and patients from potential fires. Use these tips to help you keep your fire sprinkler heads and system in pristine working order:
Place staff reminders: Leave signs near sprinklers that remind employees to keep the values open. Also, provide a way for staff to report issues they experience if they close a valve. Pictures are more descriptive than words in this case.
Lock control valves: If you lock them so they are always open, you will ensure they are always ready to work in an emergency.
Replace sprinkler heads accordingly: Replace your sprinkler heads often, especially near boxes or large pieces of equipment. These objects can affect the unit’s heat detection sensors, especially if the sprinkler heads or system makes contact with them. Replace sprinkler heads after any paint work is done and change sprinkler heads that are frequently exposed to high heat levels. Every five years, replace gauges and inspect your pipes.
Get Comprehensive Fire Safety Services With Alliance Environmental
Alliance Environmental covers all your fire safety needs, including fire sprinkler head cleaning to fire door replacement. Our fire life safety services provide a comprehensive range of fire equipment maintenance, cleaning, management and replacement solutions. We aim to help you protect your building and its occupants with reliable and properly functioning fire safety equipment.
Alliance Environmental specializes in many services and works with a wide range of industries. Our healthcare services help keep facilities safe, allowing you to focus on patient care. If you would like to learn more about our expansive range of services, you can contact us online today.