Automatic fire sprinkler systems are an essential method for controlling fires in buildings of all types.

Though they are designed to work when needed, it is estimated that nearly 10% of sprinklers fail to go off when there is a fire.

Preventing sprinkler failure demands regular sprinkler system inspections and sprinkler testing to ensure everything is working properly followed by sprinkler system supervision.

Sprinkler supervision is a critical element in ensuring your system is functioning properly and will go off when a fire is detected.

What Is Fire Sprinkler System Supervision?

Fire sprinkler system supervision is a built-in safeguard that ensures a sprinkler system is active and all valves, pipes, and controls required for it to activate are open and functional.

It is an automated means of supervising the entire system to make sure it is always operational after sprinkler system testing and inspecting, resetting, and repairing as well as other times when it might be temporarily shut off.

Why Is Sprinkler Supervision Important?

Fire sprinkler system inspectors find that in setting or testing these systems, many people inadvertently turn them off or turn off sections of the systems without realizing it and when this happens, sprinklers fail because they are non-operational when a fire is detected.

The National Fire Prevention Association reports that three out of five sprinkler failures are due to the system accidentally being turned off, something that cannot happen with a system that has automatic sprinkler supervision.

Supervised fire sprinkler systems have sensors that analyze all valves and segments of the system and notify when there is something either closed off or set in such a way that the system cannot activate if a fire is detected.

The notifications indicate that some kind of solution or repair is needed to get the system functioning properly.

It is a reliable way to prevent sprinkler failure due to the system being blocked or improperly programmed.

What Degree of Supervision Is Required for Different Systems?

There are three types of supervision available in sprinkler systems used in buildings as covered by individual safety codes.

Each system is designed to detect abnormalities in the system and alert them to the receiving location:

  • NFPA 13 Standard for Installation of Sprinkler Systems - Non-electrical supervision that is acceptable for sprinkler systems installed in buildings that are not required to have them according to local fire safety code. ;NFPA 13 allows the system designer to have more control over how supervision works, locking valves and other controls, and where alerts are received.
  • NFPA 101 Life Safety Code - Supervised systems must be designed and installed according to local fire safety codes and electrically supervised. Alerts must be received in either a protected staffed area within the building or in a remote location away from the building such as the local fire department.
  • NFPA 1 Fire Code - Supervised systems must adhere to all design specifics of NFPA 101 and a number of other systems while also alerting directly to the local fire department.

Keep Sprinklers Reliable With A Supervised System

A reliable fire sprinkler system is an essential part of your building’s fire safety and prevention equipment.

Though a yearly sprinkler system inspection is necessary to ensure it can function properly, using a system that has automated supervision is another critical factor for fire prevention.

The right supervised system as installed by a qualified fire sprinkler system company will keep your building compliant with local fire safety codes and prevent a devastating accident should conditions arise that the sprinklers would not be able to activate.

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