Fire Detection System Accidental Activation – What Should You Do?

Fire alarm box

Fire detection and suppression systems are essential pieces of fire safety equipment. When properly installed and regularly maintained, they can provide early warnings of potential fires, allowing for timely evacuation and intervention.

If your fire detection system is paired with a suitable fire sprinkler system, it can also extinguish fires before they have the opportunity to spread. Not only can this protect lives, but it can also prevent the destruction of your property and assets. 

With that said, there are instances where a fire detection system can misfire or be accidentally activated, causing unnecessary panic, disruption, and the potential for serious water damage due to running fire sprinklers. 

Knowing how to respond quickly and effectively in these situations is crucial for minimizing water damage and the overall impact on your business.

This guide will provide a detailed look at what you can do when your fire detection and suppression system misfires. We’ll also emphasize the importance of maintaining your system and equipping it with a fire sprinkler shut-off tool, like the Shutgun

So, let’s get started! 

Immediate Actions When a Fire Detection System Misfires

If your fire detection system has been activated accidentally, or it activated due to a malfunction, follow these steps to manage the situation: 

1. Assess the Situation

Even if your system has a history of past misfires and malfunctions, you do not want to ignore it or deactivate it prematurely. Conduct a thorough examination of the area to determine whether it was a simple false alarm or if the system was responding to an actual fire. 

Ideally, it would be the result of a misfire or accidental activation, but you do not want to shut your system off only to discover that it was triggered by fire-related smoke that went ignored. 

2. Deactivate the Sprinklers

Once you are absolutely sure that it was a false alarm, check your fire sprinklers to see if they are running. If your fire detection is connected to an automatic fire sprinkler system, chances are the sprinkler heads will be expelling water. Since each sprinkler head can expel as much as 60 gallons of water per minute, you will want to shut them off as quickly as possible. 

While you can always wait for first responders to arrive on the scene, each minute you wait could cost your business thousands of dollars in water damage. This is why a user-friendly fire sprinkler shut-off tool, like the Shutgun, is indispensable for firefighters and maintenance personnel. 

Since the Shutgun is designed for safe, one-hand operation, we recommend positioning one Shutgun with each fire extinguisher in the building. This ensures they are always accessible in the event of a sprinkler head misfire. Consider building your own Custom Shutgun Case to have the correct number and type of Shutguns for your exact needs. 

3. Silence the Alarms

If you have determined that the fire sprinklers were not activated or you have safely deactivated them, you can now silence the alarm system. Even though the alarms can be irritating when not needed, assessing the fire risk and deactivating unnecessary fire sprinkler heads should always take priority. 

4. Notify All Personnel

Inform all staff members that it was a simple false alarm and it is safe for them to return to their regular duties. Even during a false alarm, your employees should still react as if it were a real emergency, so you may need to explain the situation at the designated emergency meeting point. Remember, you never want to approach fire safety casually, as real fires can become deadly incredibly fast. 

5. Inspect the Fire Detection and Sprinkler Systems

Ensure that the fire alarms, manual pulls, sprinkler heads, and all other components are not triggered due to visible damage. If they were, you would want to schedule them for maintenance immediately. 

If false alarms continue to occur regularly but you cannot identify the cause, you may need to contact a qualified service team to address the issue. 

6. Always Document the Incident

For your own liability and peace of mind, you should always record the details of any incident where a fire detection or suppression system was activated accidentally. Record the time, date, location, cause, actions taken, and any other relevant details you can think of. 

The Importance of Maintenance for Preventing Accidental Activations 

Now that you understand just how disruptive and destructive misfires can be if they cause water damage, it is worth stressing the importance of regular maintenance and inspections. Here are just a few reasons why maintenance is essential when it comes to preventing misfires: 

Early Identification of Issues

Regular inspections from qualified personnel ensure that potential issues are spotted early. When you opt for regular inspections and maintenance through a professional company, faulty sensors, wiring problems, and other types of damage can be identified and addressed early, avoiding costly disruptions and water damage. 

Ensures System Reliability

In addition to preventing misfires, regular inspections and maintenance ensure that both your fire suppression systems are reliable, reducing the risk that they will not activate when needed. 

Sure, false alarms can be annoying, and misfiring fire sprinklers can cause severe water damage, but an undetected fire can be deadly and entirely ruinous for your business. You do not want to take any risks regarding system reliability. 

Compliance with Regulations and Fire Codes

In many industries, regular maintenance is required by law. If it is proven that you failed to have your fire detection systems inspected and maintained, you could be held legally responsible in the event of an uncontrolled fire. Not only could this damage your business’s reputation, but it could also add to the already immense expenses related to repairing fire damages. 

Why Is a Fire Sprinkler Head Shut-Off Tool So Important?

Allowing a fire sprinkler head to continue expelling water when it is unnecessary can cause serious water damage and business interruptions. From immediate property damage to costly mold growth, water damage can be incredibly expensive to deal with

Whether your fire sprinklers were activated because your fire detection system was accidentally activated, the sprinkler heads themselves misfired, or they successfully extinguished a fire but are continuing to run, you need to empower yourself to shut them off.

Invest in the Shutgun and provide effective Shutgun training to all of your employees by clicking the following link: Help Me Prevent Water Damage

Like this post? Share it!