Policy: Policy 11-3-9: Fire Protection System Impairment Policy Date Adopted:  
Department: Environmental Health & Safety Contact: Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator
Statement: Fire protection impairment occurs when a fire prevention, protection, alarm or supervisory system is shut off, impaired or otherwise taken out of service completely or in part. Impaired fire protection systems may include: Automatic Sprinkler Systems Detection Systems Fire alarm systems Fire Pumps and water storage tanks Special Suppression Systems (Co2, Clean Agent, Dry Chemical, Water spray) Standpipe and hose systems Underground piping and control valves (that feed fire systems) The purpose of this Policy is to properly manage risks when our fire systems are impaired. This policy reflects the requirements of our property insurer.

Table of Contents:

  1. Scope
  2. Procedure
  3. Responsibilities
  4. Files/Forms

Section 1: Scope

  1. While planned protection impairments may be necessary during maintenance, renovation and new construction, it must be understood that when any protection impairment occurs, the facility is in jeopardy. Many large losses might have remained small if fire the protection impairments had been properly managed. When a fire protection system impairment is planned or occurs accidentally, precautionary measures are necessary to minimize the risk.
  2. Facilities requires to be informed of emergency impairments as soon as they occur, or for scheduled impairments as far in advance as possible, so that they can make proper notification, schedule the impairment, and take necessary precautions.
  3. Two examples of protection impairments are: a sprinkler system that has been shut off in order to replace a sprinkler head, and/or a valve is jammed and cannot function. Impairments may be planned (shutting off the sprinkler system to install additional sprinkler heads), or emergency (shutting off the sprinkler system to replace a sprinkler head that has been hit by a forklift).

Section 2: Procedure

  1. As a contractor, outside agent, volunteer, or WNC employee if your work activities require a planned impairment or cause an emergency impairment this policy must be followed. First contact your Facilities Supervisor who is familiar with the Fire Systems he can help you schedule the impairment and assist with notifications. He will schedule the impairment complete the required notifications and place the Fire Protection Impairment Tag. With the exception of an emergency impairment where physical damage is occurring or a hazardous situation exists The Fire Protection Impairment Permit Must Be Signed and be in place, prior to the system impairment. The Facilities Director will then call the EH&S Coordinator to inform the insurance company.
  2. The EH&S Coordinator shall telephone TVAs (WNC property insurance representative) office toll-free to advise of fire protection system impairment. EH&S shall be prepared to discuss the circumstances and plans regarding the impairment. TVAs key phone numbers follow.
    1. Fax Number: 1-619-839-3892
    2. West Coast: 1-800-916-2774 (for over 8 hour or unplanned impairment)
    3. After Hours: 1-800-777-5914 (for advice and to advise of problems)
  3. In addition the Facilities Director shall notify the proper personnel at least 24 hours before the impairment:
    1. Fire Department: Notification of the public fire department will allow them to adjust any pre-fire planning if necessary.
    2. Alarm Company: Notification of the alarm will limit any false alarms to the fire department.
    3. Proper campus personnel: Alert the building residents including lab and shop supervisors the EH&S Coordinator and Public Safety, so that necessary preplanning can take place.
    4. Select, delegate, and instruct a responsible person to reopen valves or enable systems in case of fire.
  4. Discontinue hazardous operations in the effected area including:
    1. Hot work
    2. Handling of Flammable liquids
    3. Notify outside contractors to discontinue hazardous operations
  5. Increase fire protection and monitoring:
    1. Establish a fire watch
    2. Obtain additional fire extinguishers
    3. Charge fire hoses
  6. Red Tag: Fasten the top portion of the WNC Red Tag (Fire Protection Out of Service) to the impaired system; fasten the stub portion of the red tag in a visible place as a reminder to restore the system when the impairment is over. See Appendix A
  7. Expedite Work, in order to restore all impaired systems as quickly as possible. Do not leave protection out of service any longer than necessary.
    1. Return fire protection systems to service
    2. Open and lock sprinkler system and water supply control valves, and perform main drain tests
    3. Confirm that all components of other fire protection systems are operational
    4. Secure all fire protection control and alarm panels
    5. Remove and account for all red tags
    6. Verify that all alarms are in-service
    7. Notify TVA, Fire Department, and Alarm Company of fire protection restoration
  8. For planned impairments of less than eight hours in duration, and no more than one impaired system; Facilities may use the TVA fax notification form in Appendix B.

Section 3: Responsibilities

  1. Academic Directors must ensure that all Fire Protection System Impairments or needs for scheduled impairments are brought to the attention of the Facilities Department. This direct notification will allow Facilities to properly schedule the impairment and follow this impairment policy.
  2. The Facilities Department will schedule, perform notifications, and complete Fire Protection impairments Permits and perform other duties to conform to this policy.
  3. The Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) Department will assist Facilities and monitor WNC policy compliance and provide training.

Section 4: Files/Forms

  1. Appendix A: Fire Protection Impairment Permit
  2. Appendix B: Fax Notification Form-Planned Impairments

Date(s) Revised June 20, 2013; September 2, 2008; Date(s) Reviewed