Monitor buildings as cold weather moves in


Make sure fire protection equipment is visible in the snow.


As winter weather arrives in northern states and cold temperatures creep south, it is time to review and address the emergency plans your business put in place. Initiate your snow removal contract, if needed. Work with your staff to check building conditions at all locations and monitor temperature.

Automatic sprinkler systems have the potential to cause water damage to a building and its contents if water in the pipes is allowed to freeze. Plus, an impaired or inoperable sprinkler system can increase damage caused by fire.

It is critical that you maintain sufficient temperature and airflow in buildings to prevent freeze-up of sprinkler systems. Some areas often overlooked are:

  • mechanical rooms on an outside wall
  • closets
  • space above a finished ceiling
  • stairways
  • open warehouse areas with large doors
  • vestibules
  • pipe near glass windows, walls and atrium areas

If your piping or other systems freeze, provide extra heat and airflow to safely thaw equipment. Have a qualified sprinkler contractor ensure that your sprinkler system is properly repaired and operational before resuming normal building operations.

  • Never thaw pipe with open flames.
  • Complete snow removal around and in front of sprinkler valves to allow for fire department access.
  • Monitor the temperature of water supply tanks and reservoirs to prevent freezing.
  • Maintain building temperatures above 45 degrees.
  • During lengthy periods of cold weather, check occupied and unoccupied building spaces for structural damage, leaks, openings and sprinkler piping breaks.
  • Properly monitor and maintain adequate building temperatures to prevent freezing.

This loss control information is advisory only. The author assumes no responsibility for management or control of loss control activities. Not all exposures are identified in this article.


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