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    Building Safety: Check FDC and Sprinkler System Signs

    By Mark Conroy

    Safety signs are installed on buildings to assist the local fire department in identifying important sprinkler system valves, components, and critical information. These signs help label things so first responders can quickly perform critical tasks upon arrival. Making sure the signs are in place, and legible, improves safety for fire fighters and building occupants. That is why a check for code compliant signage is critical.

    FDC Signs

    NFPA 13 requires a sign at each fire department connection (FDC). NFPA 25 requires fire department connections to be inspected quarterly to assure FDC signs (A246) are in place and hung in an approved manner. Installing new signs and replacing missing/broken chains and S-Hooks is done at that time.

    Sprinkler Valve Signs

    Sprinkler system control valve signs (A226) indicate valve function and what each valve controls. These signs tell what portion of the building is served by each valve. Systems that have more than one closed control valve for service must have a sign on each affected valve and reference the location of other affected valves. The complexity of the signage depends on complexity of the system.

    Sprinkler Fire Alarm Signs

    NFPA 25 requires outside alarm devices to be checked annually for proper signage. These signs (A165 and RP251) are required to be near the alarm device, conspicuously located.

    Hydraulic Information Signs

    A sign is required that has hydraulic design information. These signs can be installed at the alarm valve, dry pipe valve, preaction valve, or deluge valve for each hydraulically designed area. Each sign is required to have certain information, such as discharge densities and residual pressure.

    Other Signs

    Signs are required for the system control riser supplying an antifreeze loop, dry system, preaction system, or auxiliary system control valve. Those signs must provide the following information:

    • Location of the area served by the system (A226)
    • Location of auxiliary drains and low-point drains (A225)
    • The presence and location of anti¬freeze systems (A224) or other auxiliary systems

    Hanging Signs with Chains

    Signs are required by NFPA 13 to be metal or rigid plastic and be secured with a chain or an equivalent method. Hanging signs with corrosion-resistant chain (DJC4) is simple and quick with S-Hooks (SHK).

    A certified sprinkler fitter, with access to the codes and code compliant replacement signs, is most qualified to perform these tasks. Checking and replacing problematic sprinkler system signage improves safety for fire fighters and overall life safety for building occupants.

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    Mark Conroy is an engineer in our Boston, MA office.

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above Tech Series article are the author’s only and provide limited information. Although the information is believed to be reliable, Brooks Equipment Company, LLC expressly disclaims any warranty with respect to the information and any liability for errors or omissions. The user of this article or the product(s) is responsible for verifying the information’s accuracy from all available sources, including the product manufacturer. The authority having jurisdiction should be contacted for code interpretations.