What is impairment?

An impairment is when a fire protection system or part of one is disconnected or damaged in a manner that will impair or prevent it from operating properly in an emergency. Impairments may occur as a result of repairs, test, alterations, or retrofits result in impairments. When impairments occur, the impaired fire protection is not protecting your property.

What equipment could have impairments?

Fire Sprinklers, Standpipes, Fire Pumps, Fire Alarm, Kitchen Fire Suppression System, Fire Doors, etc.

What is a planned impairment?

Planned impairment occurs when a repair, test, alteration or retrofit occurs on a scheduled date and time. When this happens, the proper steps can be planned in advance to make sure that the building is still properly protected.

What is an unplanned or emergency impairment?

Unplanned or emergency impairments occur when a repair, test, alteration or retrofit occurs as result of vandalism, mechanical or electrical failure or natural disasters. A plan should be prepared in advance, that should be put into place when an unplanned or emergency impairment occurs. Preparing a plan in advance will help reduce the risk of danger to life or property.

Steps to take during impairment?

Planned Impairment (Before you disconnect the system)

1. Must be authorized by the impairment coordinator (see definition below)
2. Determine the length of time the impairment will exist
3. Inspect affected area to determine the risk of the area(s)
4. Notify the building owner or manager of the recommendations
5. Notify the local Fire Official and Fire Department
6. Notify insurance company, alarm company and any other parties that have jurisdiction
7. Notify the supervisors in the affected area(s)
8. Tag areas/systems that have impairment
9. Gather tools and material that are necessary on site of impairment
10. Discontinue all hot work in the affected area(s)
11. If impairment affects commercial kitchen fire suppression system, discontinue cooking 

Unplanned or Emergency Impairment

1. Notify impairment coordinator (see definition below)
2. notify local Fire Official and Fire Department
3. Implement emergency action plan
4. follow same steps as planned impairment

What is an impairment coordinator?

An impairment coordinator is a designated person chosen by the building owner who is in charge of implementing the requirements of impairment. If none is designated, the building owner assumes the responsibility.

Who do you contact?

In New Jersey, when you have an impairment, you must contact your local fire official and fire department so they are aware of the issue.

Do I need ‘fire watch’? 

Whether or not you need fire watch is up to the local Fire Official in charge.

What is a ‘fire watch’?

Individual must be provided with at least one approved means for notification of the fire department and their only duty shall be to perform constant patrols of the protected premises and keep watch for fires.