Protect Your Building


  • Inspect Heating Systems
  • Winterize Cooling Systems
  • Calibrate Thermostats / Reduce Set Points
  • Change Air Filters
  • Inspect Doors and Windows
  • Clean Gutters
  • Select Good Entrance Mats
  • Inspect Exterior Faucets, Irrigation Systems
  • Roof / Attic Inspection
  • Deicers
  • Prepare for Power Outages

Preventing pipe and automatic sprinkler system freeze-ups

A common, yet significant winter challenge is how to prevent interior water pipes from freezing. Nearly all commercial buildings have automatic sprinkler systems in place to protect against fire. While a fire can cause monumental loss, so can its polar opposite: ice.
A freeze-up of automatic sprinkler system pipes, caused by insufficient building heat, may result in burst piping and subsequent water damage to a building and its contents. If a fire occurred while the sprinkler system was incapacitated, the resulting loss could be catastrophic.
To prevent sprinkler system pipes from freezing, these standard building management procedures should be followed:

  • Prior to the official start of winter, the building’s heating system should be completely serviced and then checked on a regular basis throughout the cold weather months.
  • The structural components of the building should be inspected for any deficiencies or problem areas. Broken windows and wall cracks should be repaired promptly to prevent drafts from entering the building.
  • Temperatures in areas protected by wet pipe systems should be kept above 40°F.
  • Adequate heat should be provided to concealed areas, such as attics and areas above ceilings, where sprinkler piping has been installed.
  • Although dry pipe systems are less susceptible to freeze-ups, they should also be included in any winterizing program.
  • Fire pumps should be in a heated room and should be tested at periodic intervals. Suction taken from open water should have lines that are buried below the frost level. Intake screens should be kept clear of ice.
  • Gravity tanks should be checked for leaks and overflows. Should leaking or overflowing water freeze, it could cause structural damage to, and the subsequent collapse of, the tank.
  • Fire hydrants and valves should be kept clear of snow and ice to prevent freezing. Piping for outdoor systems should be buried below the frost level to prevent freezing. Piping that is exposed to freezing temperatures should either be insulated or heated. Fire hydrants should be checked for adequate drainage and post indicator valves should be checked for leakage.
  • Once winter has arrived, management should keep a close watch on weather conditions. All commercial buildings and facilities should have a plan in place for handling extreme snowfalls and extreme cold spells that may lead to heating problems.
  • Supervisory personnel should be provided with a list of emergency numbers to call in case of trouble.

Despite following all of the recommended procedures, a freeze-up may still occur. If that happens, management should contact the experts for repair, rather than attempt to make repairs in a “do-it-yourself” manner.

Ensuring safety around your facility

  • Protect yourself.
  • Salt, Shovel and Clear.
  • Winterize your car.
  • Train your staff.
  • Stay safe.

The key to surviving a winter is staying well and healthy. You can learn more about dealing with cold weather by visiting the FEMA web site.
Advance Catastrophes Technologies (ACT) is your partner for total disaster planning, response and recovery. Disaster strikes in an instant, and although you can’t predict when it will happen, you can be prepared.
Companies across the U.S. are turning to ACT for advance planning, immediate disaster response, and expert restoration. Whether the event is a Cat 5 hurricane in New Orleans, a wildfire in Southern California or a nor’ easter in New England, ACT is there when it matters.
From the initial plan to the final steps of recovery, ACT is the single source solution for all of your disaster management needs.