Ask the Expert (Fire Safety)

Why do we need a fire sprinkler shut-off tool?

The best way to protect a building and its occupants from fire is to have an automatic fire sprinkler system. However, when a fire sprinkler system accidentally activates it can cause hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage. Talk to anyone who has had a fire sprinkler accident and you will hear just how catastrophic water damage can be. I have seen sprinkler accidents caused by everything from a kickball game in a dorm hallway to moving furniture in a science lab to hanging a clothes hanger on a sprinkler head in a classroom. When these accidents occur, a fire sprinkler shut-off tool can immediately stop the flow of water to the activated head while keeping the rest of the sprinkler system functional.

A single fire sprinkler head can expel between 30 to 100 gallons per minute, causing an estimated $1,000 of damage per minute. As a firefighter, I have personally seen over 30 stories of a building destroyed from a single sprinkler head. In most cities, a building’s water supply can only be shut off by the fire department. Waiting for firefighters to be dispatched, respond, locate, access and shut down the system can result in hundreds of gallons of unclean water pouring into your hallways and classrooms. Stopping the activated head quickly using a sprinkler tool helps avoid expensive damages and keeps every sprinkler head in the building pressurized. Your buildings stay open and operational while your students and faculty remain safe and protected.

Whether you are looking to protect dorm rooms, lab equipment or classrooms, you cannot afford to have a sprinkler accident without keeping a fire sprinkler shut-off tool on site.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Matt Scarpuzzi is a San Diego firefighter and owner of Quickstop Fire Sprinkler Tools (www.quickstoptool.com). Contact him at info@quickstoptool.com or 858/750-2232.

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