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Building & Fire Safety

Fire Safety Engineering

Residential Fire Sprinkler Information for Owners

A code compliant residential fire sprinkler system provides state of the art fire protection for the occupants of the protected building. It also provides compliance with the standard of care required by the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC). The 2009 IRC, as adopted by the City of Henderson, requires the automatic residential fire sprinkler system to be designed and installed in accordance with the 2009 International Fire Code and the 2010 NFPA Standards.

In accordance with the requirements of the 2009 International Fire Code and 2010 NFPA 13D, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes, the installing fire sprinkler contractor is required to provide the owner/occupant instructions on inspecting, testing, and maintaining the system. The installing contractor or sprinkler manufacturer should be contacted relative to any questions.

The occupants of a home with a fire sprinkler system should understand that maintaining the system is mostly about common sense. Keeping the control valve open, not hanging items from the fire sprinklers, and making sure that the sprinklers do not get painted or obstructed are the most important items. It is also important to know where the control valve is located so that the water can be shutdown after sprinkler activation to minimize water damage.

The building owner should understand the sprinkler system operation and should conduct periodic inspections and tests to make sure that the system is in good working condition. The building owner is responsible for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of the system. A recommended inspection and testing program may include the following:

(1) Monthly inspection of all valves to ensure that they are open.

(2) Monthly inspection of tanks, if present, to confirm they are full.

(3) Monthly testing of pumps, if present, to make sure they operate properly and do not trip the circuit breakers when starting.

(4) Testing of all waterflow devices, when provided, every 6 months including approved monitoring service (NOTE: Notification of the monitoring service is essential to make sure that the fire department is not called due to testing.)

(5) Ongoing visual inspection of all sprinklers to make sure they are not obstructed and decorations are not attached or hung from them.

(6) Whenever painting or home improvements are made in the dwelling unit, special attention should be paid to ensure that sprinklers and cover plates are not painted or obstructed either at the time of installation or during subsequent redecoration. When painting is occurring in the vicinity of sprinklers, the sprinklers should be protected by covering them with a bag, which should be removed immediately after painting is finished.