On Tuesday July 6, 2010, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued a safety alert related to buildings equipped with residential fire sprinkler systems containing antifreeze solutions. Following a recent fatal fire incident which prompted a research study and a series of fire tests, there has been concern raised over the potential for the antifreeze solution in the residential fire sprinkler system to ignite in certain fire situations.

According to the NFPA, any system that contains antifreeze should have the antifreeze drained from the system and replaced with water. NFPA is recommending that those who are responsible for a residential occupancy with a fire sprinkler system should have a fire sprinkler contractor test their system for antifreeze. NFPA also advises that all residential fire sprinkler systems currently being installed should avoid designing or installing a system that would require antifreeze.

Antifreeze systems were first recognized and approved for use in residential occupancies in the 1989 edition of the NFPA fire sprinkler installation standards. More information regarding NFPA’s safety alert on antifreeze in residential fire sprinklers and the list of recommended action to take for systems containing antifreeze can be found at www.nfpa.org/antifreeze. If you believe you are affected by this alert, please contact the local building or fire official for more information.