Fire Protection System Impairments & Emergency Responses

Fire Sprinkler Head

Did you know NFPA 25 includes specific building owner responsibilities when a fire protection system is impaired? NFPA defines a fire protection system ‘Impairment’ as:

“A condition where a fire protection system or unit or portion thereof is out of order, and the condition can result in the fire protection system or unit not functioning in a fire event.” (3.3.17, NFPA 25, 2011 edition).

NFPA defines two categories of fire protection system impairments:

  • Emergency Response Impairments (due to an unexpected occurrence).

  • Preplanned Fire Protection System Impairments (a planned out-of-service condition in order to perform work on the fire protection system).

Why Have a Fire Protection Impairment Plan?

The risk of a fire causing major damage and jeopardizing occupant safety is significantly increased whenever a fire safety system is disabled due to maintenance, repair, construction, power outage, or an emergency condition. Having a fire protection impairment plan in place helps safeguard your building and its contents from fire damage and keep occupants safe during an outage.

What Should a Fire Protection Impairment Procedure Include?

Every building or facility owner should have a fire protection system impairment procedure to establish safety measures taken when a system is disabled. An effective management program should ensure:

  • Proper notification is given for an impairment
  • The safe shutdown of a fire protection system
  • All fire hazards are controlled
  • Repairs are expedited to minimize the duration of an impairment

Chapter 15 of NFPA 25 provides detailed instructions for building owners to follow in the event of a fire protection system impairment. These instructions include, but are not limited to:

  • Designating an Impairment Coordinator
  • Notifying the fire department, the insurance carrier, the alarm company, and other Authorities Having Jurisdiction
  • Implementing an approved fire watch
  • Implementing a Tag Impairment System
  • Arranging for repairs and restoring the system to service

Please refer to NFPA 25 for additional fire protection system impairment procedure requirements.

Ahern has extensive fire safety experience specializing in the design, installation, and maintenance of fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, and more. Our in-house fire protection shop prefabricates piping and components to improve installation efficiency and get your systems functioning properly without delay. When partnering with Ahern, you receive a team of code experts looking out for your safety, schedule, and budget.

Contact Ahern for solutions specific to your building or facility type.

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