How To Maintain A Fire Tank
A fire tank performs a vital function that is significantly different to other types of water tank.
14:32 03 December 2019
The hope is that a sprinkler system will never be activated. So, the tank is a standby solution. However, with fire an ever-present risk in all building types, preparing for an emergency is vital. Knowing you have enough water ready to be pumped to sprinkler heads can relieve a lot of worry and keep your insurers satisfied.
Maintaining sprinkler tanks used to store water for the sole purpose of fighting a fire requires careful consideration. Not least because legislation is in place that requires life-saving equipment in specific property types to be properly inspected at regular intervals and any issues swiftly resolved. Whether you are a landlord, business owner or manage properties on behalf of a municipality, you should understand the relevance of regular inspections.
The purpose of annual checks is to ensure a fire-fighting system will work as and when a fire is detected. The consequences of a system failure can be devastating. Checks allow for planned maintenance, meaning any downtime can be carefully timed to cause the least disruption and mitigate risks. Social and other landlords, for example, are required to have systems serviced. This should include testing by a qualified expert and certification. Failure to adequately maintain life-saving equipment can result in court action. This makes maintenance a cost-effective as well as safe way to manage fire risks.
Sprinkler tank checklist
While sprinkler systems, in general, should be serviced periodically, so too should a fire tank. An internal inspection of the tank, along with checks on pumps, flows, pressure and alarm systems is necessary to ensure the sprinklers work when they are supposed to. A defect in one or more components can cause a catastrophic failure that will put lives at risk. When carrying out a routine inspection, an expert will check for:
- Any signs of rust or corrosion
- Thinning of tank walls at certain points in the structure
- Perforations in the surface of a tank
- Problems with vales and ancillary equipment, such as roofs and access hatches
One of the biggest problems with fire tanks is that they are prone to wear and tear caused by their environment. Over time, contact with water can cause chemical reactions that lead to rust. The end result is a build-up of sediment, along with a perforation or split that will cause water to leak. While small leaks are often ignored, the advice from specialists is to get it sorted. As well as wasting water, which can be expensive in the long run, the problem is only going to get worse.
When looking for a reputable independent contractor to inspect your fire tank, check that they are:
- Experienced in dealing with your type of tank
- Are accredited with CHAS
- Have carried out similar work before that can be verified
- Employ a skilled team of engineers who are fully safety trained
- Competent in working at height
- Use remotely controlled underwater vehicles that will get survey equipment right around the tank
You should also ensure that a detailed written report follows any inspection. If any issues are raised, comments should be supported by HD images, video or other irrefutable evidence.
What does fire tank maintenance involve?
It is important to stress that a new fire tank should serve you well, with no issues, for at least a decade. However, as a tank ages it will naturally deteriorate. Regular checks can quickly identify any potential problems. Remedial action can prevent leaks or repair existing perforations. If a tank has not been inspected for a long time and is found to be beyond repair, you will have to replace it.
A report that states a tank needs repairing, could suggest one of the following:
- Roof replacement
- An epoxy coating repair
If the tank itself needs remedial works, it will need to be drained of water. This process is often carried out over many hours. Only when the tank is empty and free of any debris / sediment can repair work begin. The good news is, it generally takes less than a week – much quicker and more cost-effective than having to invest in a new tank.
If you are not sure how to maintain your sprinkler tank in good working order, talk to an expert. They will be able to guide you through not just the legal requirements but the actions you can take to prolong the lifespan of your tank. Large businesses, particularly those from the industrial sector and municipalities, understand the pivotal role good maintenance plays in overall fire safety.
Neglecting to maintain a water tank that supplies sprinklers is potentially a criminal offence and could cause untold damage as well as loss of life. It is never worth taking a risk, particularly when a large number of businesses who suffer a fire never financially recover. https://www.sprinklertank.co.uk