Trouble-free fire water tank inspection

by FM Media
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With the development of compact remotely operated vehicles, fire water tanks with restrictive entry can be accessed to conduct effective inspections that reduce costly, labour-intensive and time-consuming routines.

Regular inspections of fire water tanks are just one of many compliances that facility managers are confronted with. Reference to building codes, other Australian standards, worksafe practices and general occupational health and safety (OHS) guidelines and codes of practice also need to be considered and adhered to.
Depending on the age of the building an inspection of a hydrant or sprinkler tank may be required every three to five years. Traditionally, tanks are taken off line and emptied for personnel to enter the storage for the inspection. This can become a logistic nightmare as:

  • during this time the facility has no fire water
  • insurance companies and the fire brigade need to be notified
  • the entry space is confined
  • prevention of falls from heights needs to be taken into account
  • there is an increased risk of injury from slips and falls, and
  • it is a labour-intensive, time-consuming and costly process.

Some tanks have never been entered as entry hatches are too restrictive and, therefore, no inspection has been conducted since the facility was built. Internal coating failure and quality of water can increase corrosion activity and significantly affect the structural integrity of the tank. If unmonitored, major leaks can be catastrophic, causing further asset damage.
Divers can be used to improve inspection routines and reduce downtime, however, some entry hatches may still be too restrictive and divers are unable to enter. With the development of compact remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), tanks with restrictive entry can be accessed to conduct effective inspections that reduce costly, labour-intensive and time-consuming routines.
Following the inspection, the facility manager, when presented with a comprehensive written and video report, will be able to make an effective decision on any remedial repairs that may be required and remain compliant with relevant codes and standards.

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