No one knows for sure how our world will change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there will be changes. In the short term, as the United States starts to re-open facilities, we need to prepare for additional building entry procedures and ITM post-COVID-19.
Security will likely include temperature taking and health screening questions. Service, maintenance, and inspection personnel need to be provided with masks, gloves, and other PPE. Disinfectant wipes will need to be added to toolboxes so for use on the fire control panel.
Gone are the days when a crew can easily access a building and have free roam of the stairwells to access sprinkler system valves. Bottom line, property owners and occupants will want to limit the number of outsiders entering their buildings, limit the areas of the building they access, and limit the amount of time they will be on site.
The fire protection industry can’t let interruptions to inspection, testing, and maintenance undermine long-term fire sprinkler system integrity. That will mean using products that ease the time service contractors need to be on-site and the areas they need to access. Although developed to solve other system-related issues, AGF Manufacturing has products to address concerns of a post-COVID-19 environment.
AGF developed the RemoteTEST inspector’s test over 15 years ago. Its original goal was to make the process of testing a system easier and faster. Its primary application has been institutional, high security, and limited access facilities like higher education, hospitals, and laboratories.
For ITM post-COVID-19, RemoteTEST allows testing from a single specific location, significantly limiting the amount of access a technician will need within a facility. And with some existing fire control panel capabilities, testing could even be initiated off-site at off-hours.
The recently introduced PURGEnVENT product line was designed to reduce internal pipe corrosion by eliminating trapped oxygen. Its original goal was to make systems last longer. In a post-COVID-19 world, PURGEnVENT will reduce internal pipe corrosion and, as a result, system failure will be reduced. Fewer failures equal to less required emergency service. Less emergency service equals fewer outside technicians needing access at inopportune times and potentially sensitive or disruptive locations.
AGF developed and have expanded the COLLECTanDRAIN product line to solve the issue caused by dry system failures due to collected condensation-related freeze and breaks. In a post-COVID-19 world COLLECTanDRAIN (and more specifically the Model 5400 and 5500) can safely reassign the task of auxiliary drain maintenance to a facility’s own inside personnel. The auxiliary drains will be protected from freezing, and the facility’s internal maintenance staff will be alerted when they need attention.
AGF also makes versions of COLLECTanDRAIN that can completely automate the emptying of auxiliary drains, eliminating the need for access. An auxiliary drain that protects itself from freezing and alerts when it needs attention significantly reduces the risk of a system failure. Fewer failures equal less required emergency service, and less emergency service equals fewer outside technicians needing access to a facility.
Maintaining Fire Safety in a Post COVID-19 World
A reliable, functioning fire sprinkler system is just as important to keep the people inside a building safe as is the current emphasis on handwashing, wearing a mask, and maintaining social distancing. Clear communication between fire sprinkler service contractors and facility managers is the best way to keep everyone in this equation safe. AGF Manufacturing already has several products that can help address concerns of on-site labor times and access when keeping facilities protected in a post-COVID-19 world.
To purchase AGF products for your facility, find a distributor that serves your area.