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sprinkler link into fire alarm panel
a friend has asked me about the 'regulations' regarding connecting sprinklers into fire alarm systems. he has asked some interesting questions:

1 - do you have to connect sprinklers into fire alarm panels? I said it's probably all down to the risk assessment...

2 - can you connect it into a repeater panel or does it have to signal directly to the main panel? I said as long as the repeater panel is monitored for cable faults you're probably ok as the critical signal path to the a.r.c. etc is then monitored - am I right? obviously its better to go to the main panel to reduce possible points of failure.

3 - How should sprinklers be connected into the fire alarm? I recommended a latching input, monitored for cable faults to the sprinkler system, ideally not a pressure switch as these can cause false alarms from low water pressure so ideally a flow switch, labelled as such on the panel (non-specific 'addressable')

                              Any comments? Anything I've missed? I've rang the bafsa with no response yet....
I usually get asked to connect sprinklers and I use a Switch monitor or I/O depending on if the sprinkler has a control panel or contacts on the valves.

Or a separate zone for non-addressable.

I don't know if it has to be done but every system I have come across is connected by some means.
All posts are of my own opinion and knowledge and do not reflect the views of the Company I work for.
Just make sure their is a 8 to 10 second delay as the sprinkler system has a jockey pump to top up. Most flow switch have a adjustment on then.
in my experience sprinklers are normally monitored on each floor of the building (or areas of floors on large sites).

They sometimes are wired back to sprinkler monitoring panel which may give a single input to the fire alarm system via an input module.
Or each floor/area has a flow switch which is wired to a monitored loop input module on the FA.
In most cases the sprinkler activation will evacuate the building (like a MCP), but as Comm Engineer said the Flow switch has a manual adjustable delay or some fire alarm systems will have an automatic delay built in if you allocate the input module as a sprinkler input (Notifier ID3000 sets it at 40 seconds which you can adjust down). This is to prevent unwanted evacuations caused by drops in water pressure etc.

Having said all of that i have also been on many sites where the sprinklers are not picked up by the FA system so as you said i would say it may be down to the RA.
I normally don't fix sprinklers to fire panels the water makes a right mess . The risk assement should decide what they want. I normally have fire signals from flow switches, ideally lock offs should be monitored for fault. I would suggest all pumps signal back to the panel to show running and be honest get someone else to decide take the flak and do the risk assement.
(07-08-2017, 03:05 PM)COMM ENGINEER Wrote: Just make sure their is a 8 to 10 second delay as the sprinkler system has a jockey pump to top up. Most flow switch have a adjustment on then.

Agreed also most addressable panels you can program a delay mode
Peter Robinson

Retired - fed up need to work


1) They should be connected to the FA system

2) You wouldn't normally connect Sprinklers (or anything else) to a repeater panel as they do not (normally) have the facility to do this. If it's a non-addressable (conventional) system, then you need to connect it to a zone on the fire panel, ideally a dedicated zone, but may be ok to connect it to the zone the sprinklers are covering (if not more than 2000m2). If it's an addressable system, then it can be connected via a switch monitor or a zone monitor unit.

3) There should be a flow switch on the sprinkler system, with should be connected to the FA system as answer 2, and this should latch the FA system until reset, also, as above its a good idea to have small time delay and this should be recorded and acknowledge on the paperwork by the client.
30 years in the fire industry, BAFE accredited, every FIA & BFPSA course, and still learning, but sparky knows it all!
The delay is normally 30 seconds and can be programmed on the interface i.e. The switch monitor by Apollo, this is to allow for fluctuation in the water pressure normally when the sprinklers are on towns main supply.
I used to maintain a big site with a huge sprinkler installation, it was done very well indeed.
Big sites have an indication panel that reports pumps running, electrical faults etc in a manned area so it will be noticed in fault conditions.
Each fire compartment zone (shops in this case) has its own flow switch connected to a monitored input.
A sprinkler activation was always a fire event without delays. (Most sprinklers are sealed with a clapper valve to isolate mains pressure fluctuations and the jockey pump won't make a flow switch operate but a bubble of air will!) There were also main flow switches on each installation above the clapper valves, belt and braces or bs requirements I'm not sure.
There are also dry charged sprinklers but these still had flow switches for when they activated.
Bugger, I did isolate the dialer...didn't I?
A lot of older systems do not have flow switches and shut off valves to pipe zones (which are usually per floor in tall buildings and per shop in shopping centres) and are just set up at the main valve.

Whilst all sprinklers have their own built in water powered gong this on it's own is pretty useless for life safety and similarly so for property so should be interfaced with the building's fire alarm (& where necessary that alarm monitored).

It's not an absolute legal requirement but daft not too really.
Anthony Buck
Fire Safety Technical Lead @ BAFE SP205 accredited company
Extinguisher specialist

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