Monday, August 8, 2016

How to Implement a Sprinkler Impairment Program


"Out of Order" by deglispiriti

A sprinkler system impairment occurs when "a fire protection system or unit or portion therof is out of order, and the condition can result in the fire protection system or unit not functioning in a fire event".  An emergency impairment can result from a water line main break, sprinkler piping break, jammed valve, or internal piping blockage.  A preplanned impairment occurs when the system is out of service due to planned work such as revisions to the water supply source, changing a main line,or adding and adjusting the sprinkler pipe.  In either event, NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, requires that an individual be designated as the impairment coordinator to implement and manage required impairment procedures.

NFPA 25 outlines the required components of an impairment program.  There are 9 action steps that must be taken to provide for the protection of life and property throughout the impairment period.

Step 1. Determine the extent and duration of the impairment. 

Step 2. Inspect the areas affected by the impairment and document the increased risks that may be present.

Step 3. Provide risk mitigation recommendations to building owner, manager, or other responsible party.

Step 4. If the impairment will last for more than 10 consecutive hours one of the following options must be implemented:

  • Evacuation of the affected area
  • Implement a fire watch
  • Establish a temporary water supply
  • Eliminate potential ignition sources and limit fuel sources

Step 5. Notify the fire department.

Step 6. Notify the insurance carrier, fire alarm company, property owner/manager, and any other stakeholders.

Step 7. Notify supervisors/individuals within the affected space of the impairment.

Step 8. Tag the affected area or system.

Step 9. Prior to shut-down, ensure that all tools and materials are at the site.  

Here is an impairment notification template that you can customize for your use --> Download Impairment Notification Template.