Fire damage statistics
Consistent testing and inspection of fire sprinkler systems in Brooklyn and throughout New York City is mandated at regular intervals by the New York City Fire Department. These inspections save lives by focusing attention on areas that need improvement or remediation before being certified as safe and in good operating order.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a nonprofit organization established in 1896, in 2014 (the last year data was collected), there were 1,298,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused:
• 3,275 civilian deaths
• 15,775 civilian injuries
• $11.6 billion in property damage
494,000 were structure fires, causing 2,860 civilian deaths, 13,425 civilian injuries, and $9.8 billion in property damage.
193,500 were vehicle fires, causing 345 civilian fire deaths, 1,450 civilian fire injuries, and $1.5 billion in property damage.
610,500 were outside and other fires, causing 70 civilian fire deaths, 900 civilian fire injuries, and $237 million in property damage.
In 2014, fire departments in the United States responded to a fire every 24 seconds. One structure fire was reported every 64 seconds.
• One home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds.
• One civilian fire injury was reported every 33 minutes.
• One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 41 minutes.
• One outside and other fire was reported every 52 seconds.
• One highway vehicle fire was reported every 3 minutes and 8 seconds.
Structure fires accounted for 20% of the fires, but 47% of civilian deaths, 82% of civilian injuries, and 69% of direct property damage.
Heating equipment (14% of total) and shop tools and industrial equipment (also 14% of total) were the leading causes of structure fires in industrial or manufacturing facilities.
A mechanical failure or malfunction was a factor contributing to the ignition of one in four structure fires (24%) in industrial or manufacturing properties, accounting for 23% of civilian injuries and 21% of direct property damage.
Fire suppression systems like sprinklers are the “first responders” to a fire before the real first responders (your fire department personnel) can reach you. A fire sprinkler system is designed to buy time to allow complete evacuation of the site, keep the fire localized to where it began and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the structure, and preserve unaffected structures and inventory from damage or destruction by fire. In urban environment like Brooklyn, where many structures are grouped close together, fire sprinkler systems can prevent a fire situation from burning out of control and involving other buildings and people.
Allstate Sprinkler Corporation is recognized as the most reliable, responsive and respected fire sprinkler contractors in the New York City metropolitan area. As a full-service organization, we are committed to assist you with all of your commercial and residential fire protection needs. Our services include: complete design-build abilities for the installation, alterations and repairs of both fire sprinkler and fire standpipe systems; NFPA 25 inspection and testing services; Local Law 26 evaluation and compliance; prompt correction of all FDNY violations; 5-year hydrostatic pressure tests of sprinkler and standpipe siamese connections; emergency service and repairs; fire pump installations, testing and repairs; fire extinguisher sales and recharging; and all fire safety related products and equipment.
Allstate Sprinklers also carries a large selection of fire safety equipment, including smoke detectors, fire hydrants, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits. We can help your make sure your building is compliant under Local Law 26 as well as NFPA 25, and also help you fix any FDNY Violations you may have been served. If you need emergency assistance, Allstate Sprinkler Corp is a 24hr emergency-based fire suppression contractor in New York City. Contact us today at 718-597-4060.
What does it take to be a New York City Fire Sprinkler System Inspector?
A New York City fire sprinkler system inspector is a civil-service job and as such it is a position that is recruited through a standardized written examination given by the NYFD. The application materials for just the test are specific and may take some effort for the potential test taker to gather and complete for submission.
Certificate of Fitness
New York City Fire Department requires a “certificate of fitness” application to be submitted before being scheduled for the instpector’s exam. The application is available for download from the City as a PDF.
There is a $25.00 application fee payable by cash, credit, money order, or personal check. Note that debit cards are NOT accepted as a form of payment. Application Fees: $25.00 for originals and $5.00 for renewals. Checks should be made payable to the New York City Fire Department. The $25.00 fee must be paid before being allowed to take the test. Application forms are available at:
Public Certification Unit
9 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
or at this link: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/pdf/a20.pdf
The New York City Fire Department examination for Fire Sprinkler Inspectors is known as S-12. The NYFD advises prospective test takers that, “the S-12 test will consist of 75 multiple-choice questions, administered on a ‘touch screen’ computer monitor. It is a time-limit test. A passing score of at least 70% is required to secure a Certificate of Fitness.
Call (718) 999-1988 for additional information and forms.
The following materials will be provided to you as reference material when you take the test (however, the booklet will not be provided to you during the test).
- Temperature Ratings Classifications and Color Coding Table
- Reference Guide for inspection, testing and maintenance (Section XII)
- Inspection Testing and Maintenance of Sprinkler Systems Activities & Records (Section XIII)
- Reference guide for inspection, testing and maintenance (S-95 Supervision) for fire alarm systems & other related systems
Please always check for the latest revised booklet at the FDNY website before you take the test: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/c_of_f/cof_study_materials.shtml
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
- Applicants must have a reasonable understanding of the English language.
- Applicant must provide two forms of identification, at least one form of identification must be a government-issued photo identification, such as a state-issued drivers’ license or non-drivers license or a passport.
- Applicants must present a letter of recommendation from his/her employer. The letter must be on official letterhead and must state the applicant’s full name, experience, and the address where the applicant will work. If the applicants are self-employed or the principal of the company, they must submit a notarized letter attesting to their qualifications. The sample letters are available at the link: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/c_of_f/cof_requirements.shtml
Public Certification Unit
9 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
- Applicants not currently employed may take the test without the recommendation letter. If the applicants pass the test, FDNY will issue a temporary letter with picture for the job seeking purpose. The Certificate-of-Fitness card will not be issued unless the applicants are employed and provide the recommendation letter from his/her employer.
Are you considering a career as a New York City Fire Department sprinkler inspector?
What is a Hydrostatic Pressure Test?
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), “Hydrostatic testing is the method used to pressure test … critical components for leaks and structural flaws by pressurizing them with a liquid.” A hydrostatic pressure test is a method of testing fire extinguisher canisters and fire suppression system plumbing like pipes, tanks, boilers, and tanks for strength and to discover any leaks, which may reveal themselves only under pressure.
A hydrostatic pressure test involves filling the vessel or system to be tested with water under pressure. Sometimes, the water in the system will be dyed a bright color to make any leaking liquid more pronounced visually when it does actually leave the system. The system’s pressure readiness is measured by how much pressure is lost after the system is pressurized to a specific PSI (pounds per square inch), and its strength is measured by any permanent deformation done to the vessel under pressure.
Hydrostatic pressure tests may be required by law to be performed at regular intervals to ensure safe up-to-date operation of the system when it is needed. These tests are performed to identify and correct any defects or degraded materials that make up the system when exposed to a normal or above-normal operating pressure.
Most cities in the United States have laws or building codes that require pressure vessels like fire extinguishers to be tested regularly, for example every two years (with a visual inspection annually) for high-pressure gas cylinders and every five or ten years for low-pressure ones such as fire extinguishers. Gas cylinders which fail are normally destroyed as part of the testing protocol to avoid them being reused. These common gas cylinders have the following requirements:
- DOT-3AL gas cylinders must be tested every 5 years and have an unlimited life.
- DOT-3HT gas cylinders must be tested every 3 years and have a 24-year life.
- DOT-3AA gas cylinders must be tested every 5 years and have an unlimited life. (Unless stamped with a star (*) in which case the cylinder meets certain specifications and can have a 10-year hydrostatic test life).
Typically organizations such as ISO, ASTM and ASME specify the guidelines for the different types of pressure vessels.
Fire Sprinkler Testing
All State Sprinkler Corp. performs five-year hydrostatic pressure tests on a daily basis with New York City Fire Department personnel. Our testing crews work on sprinkler and standpipe systems - supplied by gravity tanks, pressure tanks, or street-level city water supplies.The scheduling of these tests is handled directly with the fire department's appointment desk.
Five-year hydrostatic pressure tests are life-saving procedures. These tests simulate actual fire department operations that take place during a fire. All State performs these tests as accurately and diligently to assure you that your sprinkler system will always be fire ready.
Types of Fire Sprinkler Systems
Fire suppression systems, sprinklers, in New York City save lives and keep properties safe from catastrophe when a fire breaks out. We’ve become used to seeing the fire sprinkler systems’ components overheads as sprinkler heads, on the walls as standpipe connections, and even behind the scenes as annunciator panels for alarms. Recognizing these components as life-saving security devices allows us all to focus on the more immediate aspects of our busy lives. But consider the fire sprinkler system in all its forms. Sprinkler systems in New York typically are one of four types of systems designed to retard or extinguish a building fire.
Pre-action systems. Pre-action fire sprinkler systems are designed to work in conjunction with a smoke or heat detector. Pre-action systems work so that no water is actually in the system’s pipes until a fire is detected and the system is called upon to fight it. Pipes are typically filled with air until an alarm goes off. Two switches then activate to release the air in the system and to being flowing water through the pipes to the sprinkler heads. This kind of system is preferred in facilities with contents that may suffer from water damage when the system activates; installations in libraries, museums, and computer rooms.
Dry-pipe systems. Dry-pipe systems are similar to pre-action systems in that the pipes hold no water until a fire is detected and the system is activated. Once activated, the system releases the air in the pipes as the water fills them. Dry-pipe fire sprinkler systems are ideal for applications where the facility is unheated. Water in the pipes of an unheated structure can freeze and rupture the pipes. Relieving the system from carrying water constantly removes the chance for water to freeze.
Wet-pipe systems. Wet-pipe fire suppression systems constantly hold water in the pipes of the sprinkler system. Wet-pipe systems are the quickest to react and actually get water on the fire, and these types of systems are commonly found in high-rise office and apartment buildings. Wet-pipe systems are typically low maintenance and highly effective.
Deluge systems. Deluge fire sprinkler systems have nozzles that are fixed open and when the system is activated by smoke or heat detector, the pump water through the system and out the heads to flood an area with water or chemicals to fight the fire. Facilities with a lot of floor space or sprawling foot prints benefit most from a deluge system of fire suppression.
Allstate Sprinkler Corporation is recognized as the most reliable, responsive and respected fire sprinkler contractors in the New York City metropolitan area. As a full-service organization, we are committed to assist you with all of your commercial and residential fire protection needs. Our services include (but are not limited to) complete design-build abilities for the installation, alterations and repairs of both fire sprinkler and fire standpipe systems; NFPA 25 inspection and testing services; Local Law 26 evaluation and compliance; prompt correction of all FDNY violations; five-yearyear hydrostatic pressure tests of sprinkler and standpipe siamese connections; emergency service and repairs; fire pump installations, testing and repairs; fire extinguisher sales and recharging; and all fire safety related products and equipment.
Allstate Sprinkler Corporation is recognized as the most reliable, responsive, and respected fire sprinkler contractors in New York City and the metropolitan area. As a full-service organization, we are committed to assist you with all of your commercial and residential fire protection needs. Our services include:
- complete design-build abilities for the installation
- alterations and repairs of both fire sprinkler and fire standpipe systems
- NFPA 25 inspection and testing services
- Local Law 26 evaluation and compliance
- prompt correction of all FDNY violations
- 5- year hydrostatic pressure tests of sprinkler and standpipe connections
- emergency service and repairs
- fire pump installations, testing and repairs
- fire extinguisher sales and recharging
Common FDNY Violations
Allstate Sprinkler can help with all your fire sprinkler testing and inspection needs. Some of the most common violations we see are:
VC1- Fire Extinguishers
VC5- Inspection Record Keeping
VC7- Color Coding
VC12- General Maintenance (Spare Heads etc.)
VC17- Certificate of Fitness
VC20- 5-year testing
The United States Congress Office of Compliance states, “Fire sprinkler systems are expected to detect, control and suppress unwanted fires. They do not necessarily have to extinguish fires since the main goal for fire sprinklers is to dramatically reduce heat, flame, smoke, control fire growth, and provide additional time for occupants to exit a building safely. Fire sprinkler systems are required in most public buildings constructed since the 1970s. If they are inspected, maintained, and tested annually, fire sprinkler systems are the most effective way to protect buildings and their occupants from unwanted fires.” With that information, it’s also helpful to know that typical fire suppression system violations include:
- Insufficient number of operating fire extinguishers.
- Lack of service or inspection within the past twelve months.
- International Fire Code regulations require a clear space of three feet be maintained around every hydrant.
- Hydrants hidden from plain view of firefighting crews must have clear signage indicating its presence.
- Hanging ornaments, signage, or any obstruction from a sprinkler head fixture.
- Evidence of leakage, corrosion, damage, or in an improper orientation of the system.
- Spare sprinkler heads must be on hand (at least six) for immediate repair of any damaged sprinkler head.
- Sprinkler system is out of service for more than 4 hours in a 24-hr period; the building must be evacuated or an approved fire watch must be provided for all parties left unprotected by the shutdown until the sprinkler system has been returned to service.
- Automatic sprinkler system installations are required to be inspected and tested at least annually.
- Boxes, shelving, and interior walls blocking the sprinkler heads’ spray radii. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) require shelves and stacked materials to not exceed a height of 18 inches below the sprinkler heads, except for those perimeter wall-mounted shelving-stored materials.
FDNY Violations & Testing
Have you been served with a violation from the New York City Fire Department? Allstate Sprinkler can help you with all the necessary paperwork, scheduling, testing and repairs that may be required to satisfy the conditions of a violation(s). Allstate maintains a continuous and close working relationship with the fire suppression unit of the New York City Fire Department and offers an unprecedented level of experience in handling FDNY violations.