In a perfect world, a 5 year fire inspection would never be needed — you and your building will be fire-free as long as you’re in operation, and you’ll look back on your fire protection system and be thankful it never got put to use. But staying vigilant of fires is something all building operators need to do at all times, and though you may hope your fire protection setup never gets used, you should always ensure it’s ready to go in case of a fire regardless.
In Colorado, all buildings are subject to a mandatory fire system inspection every 5 years to confirm that the building is still fire-ready. With these inspections in place, you ensure that any fires, if they occur, are swiftly dealt with and put out, preventing large-scale damage. In this article, we’ll walk through what these 5 year fire inspections mean to you, and tell you all you need to know about them.
What’s Inspected in a 5 Year Fire Inspection?
The main goal of five year fire inspections is to reaffirm that nothing has gone wrong with your fire system since the last inspection, top things on the list of possible things gone wrong being gradual wear and decay.
Fire inspectors will look at the internals of your system. This means creating an opening in, then checking the pipes of your sprinkler system for gradual decay and debris buildup. Over the years, lack of care can mean the rusting of even the strongest, thickest pipes, and debris like hard water deposits and accumulated rust particles, can build up quicker than you may think. Fire inspectors are aware of this, and know just where and how to check that these common problems aren’t affecting your system.
Your inspector will also replace parts that routinely need replacing, like gauges or certain valves, and will conduct a thorough, point-by-point inspection of each potential point of failure in your fire protection system. Such inspections are not only mandatory in the State of Colorado, but help to ensure both people and property are safe in the event of a fire.
How Will My Fire Inspector Fix My System’s Issues?
Depending on what exactly is causing issues in your fire system, a fire inspector will use one of many tools to address it.
In the case of your pipes’ internals, for instance, your inspector will check to see that the proper amount of water can flow through the pipe. This will ensure your water pressure and volume is enough to put out a fire, in case one breaks out. If your system can’t, most likely due to clogging, your inspector may flush your system’s pipes and thereby remove debris causing the clogging. In more extreme cases, full replacement of pipes may be necessary.
Other issues can be fixed by a simple replacement. If gauges or meters aren’t giving out proper readings, for example, they can be replaced with new ones for a quick, easy fix.
Fixes will vary from system to system, and the fixes yours will require (if any) can only be determined for certain at the time of inspection.