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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Avoid a Fire Sprinkler Accident That Can Lead to Commercial Water and Mold Damage

5/18/2022 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Carrollton offers a four-step plan to mitigate water damage from a fire sprinkler system activation or water leak.

Commercial water damage cleanup, restoration, and mold removal may be needed when a fire sprinkler system is deployed accidentally, spewing hundreds of gallons of water into the workspace, exam room, or retail space. In all of these situations, cleanup and restoration must be quickly initiated and rapidly completed so the business can resume normal business operations.

In most loss prevention strategies, the traditional fire sprinkler system is a key frontline defense against fire damage in the commercial sector. Concerning fire damage, fire sprinkler systems do afford peace of mind to property owners and facility managers. However, one-fourth of all property claims are related to a water loss, and these claims surpass $5 billion in property damages annually. A nagging concern persists regarding the possibility of a sprinkler system springing a leak and causing localized water damage. A worst-case scenario would be a malfunction in which the full activation of the system when the facility is vacant and closed for the weekend, evening, or holidays. This scenario would be catastrophic for the business.

Practical steps to minimize the frequency and impact of water damage from a fire sprinkler system

  • Conduct regular inspections of the facility and the sprinkler system.
  • Create a culture of water leak awareness and intervention.
  • Carry out intentional testing.
  • Implement maintenance, repairs, and pre-emptive replacement.

Step #1: Inspect the system for leaks.

Inspections can identify leaks in their infancy. Repairs can be made before equipment, inventory, raw materials, furniture, electronics, and important documents are damaged or destroyed.

Step #2: Create a culture of water release awareness and intervention.

Management can create a culture of water release awareness by consistently including the topic in daily updates, team briefings, and company-wide quarterly and annual meetings. Include a water release awareness flyer on company bulletin boards, and post flyers near the water cooler, breakroom, copy center, and restrooms.

Teach employees and staff the signs of a slow water leak. Key indicators are unexplained puddles of water on flat surfaces such as desks, file cabinets, tables, and especially the floor. Floor spills should receive immediate intervention to prevent slip-and-fall injuries. Sourcing the water or moisture is the next step. The first reaction should be to look up to the ceiling for a fire sprinkler head. If one is near or directly above the release, have the device inspected by the maintenance personnel or a fire sprinkler professional.

Moisture spots on fabrics and other absorbent materials should flag attention. Moist spots on paper, magazines, books, documents, and clothing are a telltale sign of a slow water leak. Special attention should be paid to moisture and pooled water on electronics, control panels, robotics, and electrical outlets. Small amounts of water on or near electrical circuits or electronic components can cause serious damage.

In a manufacturing unit or warehouse where a sprinkler system is configured to dispense a blanket of water over the production or storage area, a heightened awareness must be exercised by the regular employees and the maintenance crews. Raw materials and chemical compounds that are water-reactive present elevated risk hazards for personal injury and property damage. Fire or explosions may result when the materials are brought into contact with water or moisture.

A rapid-response notification system will improve employee participation. A dedicated text number for receiving notifications and documenting the water damage response by management will also enhance buy-in with the employees and onsite vendors and contractors.

Step #3: Carry out intentional testing.

Visual inspections are an indispensable component in any strategy to avoid the accidental activation of a fire sprinkler system. Intentional testing evaluates both the system and the hardware. Controlled tests by professionals yield real-time results that authentic the operational functionality of the sprinkler system.

Step #4: Implement regular maintenance, swift repairs, and pre-emptive replacement of aging, damaged, or defective parts.

High maintenance standards keep the fire sprinkler system in peak condition. When leaks or issues are reported, rapid repair not only resolves the problems, but also prevents a larger water release and the possibility of advanced secondary water damage that can result in mold, mildew, wood rot, or corrosive rust on metal and machinery. Pre-emptive replacement of sprinkler components as recommended and performed by fire sprinkler professionals is advisable to avoid an unwanted water discharge that could cost much more than the replacement of a simple, inexpensive sprinkler head.

Prepare for water damage: Pre-qualify a commercial restoration company

Pre-qualify a property damage restoration company before a disaster strikes. The chaos, confusion, and stress of dealing with a property damage disaster make finding a reliable, competent provider almost impossible.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Carrollton provide commercial water, fire, smoke, storm, and flood damage restoration. They offer twenty-four-hour emergency service, highly trained restoration technicians, and a rapid response to the damage scene. Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO can scale to any size disaster and handle the complex hazards presented by a commercial environment. The best equipment, the latest technology, and advanced cleaning techniques make SERVPRO of Carrollton an excellent choice for commercial property damage cleanup and restoration.

For more information about commercial mold remediation and water damage cleanup in Farmers Branch, TX, and surrounding areas, email SERVPRO of Carrollton at office@SERVPRO10952.com. The office can also be contacted by calling (972) 446-0383.

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