A general-purpose assembly is an enclosed region occupied by at least fifty people and above performing special functions such as entertainment, worship, and deliberations. Due to the large number of people who are usually hosted in a general-purpose assembly, safety is of great importance.
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Proper water flow requirements in a general-purpose assembly begin with regular inspection of sprinklers so that any impairment can be noted in advance. While some impairment in the water flow system may not go for too long, there are instances when such impairments may be experienced for over 10 hours (NFPA, 2004). If the latter happens, it is highly advisable to evacuate occupants from the affected spots. In addition, the affected area should be supplied with a temporary flow of water alongside keeping a strict vigil on any possible fire outbreaks. Moreover, an assessment of the fire control program should be initiated and approved whenever impairments are noted within the water flow systems.
Typical inspection of water sprinklers for an NFPA 25 fire protection system is also part and parcel of requirements for proper water flow. For instance, water sprinklers may be leaking thereby exposing room occupants to more dangers in the event of fire outbreaks. Any leakage in the sprinklers also reduces the optimum pressure required (for water) when putting out fires. Leakages may equally cause dampness in halls used by occupants.
Water sprinklers should also be free of corrosion. Corroded sprinklers are not effective for use in any water flow system because they may cause serious leakages during the fire fighting operations (Koffel, 2011). This implies that metallic sprinklers ought to be painted regularly. Water sprinklers should also undergo inspection to ensure that they are properly loaded and well oriented. In other words, sprinklers should be fully loaded with the right volume of water and positioned in such a way that they can be accessed easily during fire outbreak emergencies. Clearance below sprinklers and empty bulbs are part of the proper water flow requirement within a general-purpose assembly.
In order to ascertain the proper flow of water, standard typical sprinkler testing should be carried out on all the established water systems. For example, after installing and using a new sprinkler for 50 years, it should be tested by the concerned experts. Similar tests should follow at intervals of 10 years. Unless such measures are put in place, proper water flow in fire protection systems cannot be guaranteed. For fast-response sprinklers, testing should be carried out 20 years after the first installation. If the system is found to be faulty, it may be replaced or repaired. Similar tests or replacements should follow 10 years later for fast-response water sprinklers (Fire Sprinkler System Maintenance and Testing, n.d). For dry sprinklers, it is highly recommended that testing or replacements should be carried out within an interval of ten years. However, outdoor sprinklers that may be subjected to harsh environmental conditions such as extreme heat or cold are supposed to be tested or replaced after every five years.
When carrying out the tests, the focus is on either 1% of the sample region or four sprinklers (Beattie, 2012). The test sample which is larger is usually preferred. In the case of antifreeze solutions, yearly tests are recommended. Water systems should be located in strategic locations to sprinklers. Other core requirements include the concentration of water being used, system pressure, and spray distribution pattern.
Beattie, W.S. (2012). Dry Pipe Sprinkler Systems: Inspection, Testing & Maintenance. Web.
Fire Sprinkler System Maintenance and Testing. (n.d). Web.
Koffel, W.E. (2011). NFPA 25: Standard for the Inspection,Testing, and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection Systems. Web.
NFPA. (2004). Fire Safety in Assembly Occupancies. Web.