New guidance document on maintenance of extinguishing systems
Unlike a production tool, a fire protection system is on operational standby and is only activated in the event of a fire. Some faults may appear without being detectable by a non-specialist operator. This is why it is necessary to carry out regular maintenance visits by specialists to confirm the level of performance of the installation by functional tests.
Beyond technical verification of the correct functioning of the system, maintenance must also include:
- Preventative replacement of critical components that may degrade over time.
- Adapting the extinguishing installation to changes in risks and protected premises.
- Keep the extinguishing installation in conformity with the rules/standards/regulations in force.
- Check the tightness of the protected enclosure to ensure it is capable of retaining the extinguishing agent for a specified period of time, normally at least 10 minutes.
It is the responsibility of the user/owner to ensure the safety of his staff, but also of his equipment for the sustainability of his business. However, visual inspection and maintenance by users isn’t sufficient – there must be inspection and maintenance by professional contractors, because, by entrusting this service to a specialist, users/owners are ensuring the correct level of competence is applied to the system, while remaining focused on their business.
The aim of the guidance document is to make all users having an extinguishing system in their premises or users planning to install one, aware of the importance of maintenance and continuous preventative measures for the constant performance and availability of the systems in case of fires. The correct performance of extinguishing systems is essential to quickly extinguish a fire and protect human life.
This document specifically covers gaseous fire extinguishing systems, but the content may also be applicable to other fire extinguishing or fire prevention systems.