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Name: Fire System Impairment Policy
Responsible Office: Office of Facilities

Applies to: (examples; Faculty,Staff, Students, etc)

Staff , Contractors_Vendors

Policy Overview:

Issued: 06-01-2019
Next Review Date: 02-04-2023
Frequency of Reviews: Annually

There are times when it is necessary to disable fire sprinkler, fire suppression, or fire alarm systems on campus.  The probability of a fire or explosion causing major damage is increased whenever a system, alarm, or device is impaired.  The longer the protection is impaired the greater the probability becomes.  Therefore, it is necessary to minimize the duration and scope of any impairment or provide for an alternate protection system.  The purpose of this procedure is to provide guidance on when and how these fire systems and their components are to be disabled and re-enabled.

Applies to Facilities and Maintenance Personnel, UHSP Public Safety Department Personnel, and any Third-Party Contractors hired by the University to perform fire system maintenance.




Authorized Person

Any UHSP personnel or approved vendor by EH&S who has specialized knowledge of fire alarm systems, fire extinguisher operation and has completed fire watch training.  This person is permitted to initiate an impairment permit application to work on the University fire alarm and fire protection systems.

Central Monitoring Company

Approved third party monitoring company (this is not UHSP Public Safety dispatch)


A person or persons who is performing work under a contract and is managing fire system activities, which require the modification of the University building’s fire alarm or fire protection system. 

Disabling Devices

Disabling or “turning off” specific alarm initiating devices and/or signals by using the fire alarm control panel function keys, while allowing the rest of the alarm system to remain active. 

Disabling Panel

Any panel alteration that prevent it from receiving inputs or communicating alarms. Disabling an entire panel is not permitted without EH&S authorization. 

Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S)

Emergency Management Coordinator or VP Operations

Emergency Impairment

An unexpected system failure.

Fire Alarm System

A system, or portion of a combination system consisting of devices (i.e. smoke and heat detectors) arranged to monitor and annunciate the status of a fire emergency and then to initiate the appropriate response to those signals.

Fire Protection System

Approved devices, equipment and systems or combinations of systems used to detect a fire, activate an alarm, extinguish or control a fire, control or manage smoke and products of a fire, or any combination thereof.

Fire Watch

UHSP Public Safety or designated person(s) who sole responsibility is to look for fires within a designated area or areas. He or she must have specialized training on fire alarm systems activation, fire extinguisher operation and fire watch training.


Any loss of the fire alarm system functionality. Examples of impairments include: 

1.       Pump testing, 

2.       Maintenance and repair,

3.       Disconnecting, bypass, or disabling signal circuits, 

4.       Deactivating Alarm initiating devices, 

5.       System testing, 

6.       Emergencies, 

7.       Impaired fire alarm and fire protection equipment, 

8.       Powering down the fire alarm control panel, 

9.       A system “on hold” with the Central Monitoring Station, or

10.   Maintenance.


Red Tag Permit

A document completed and issued by EH&S to an authorized person.  The permit provides permission to impair whole or part of a fire alarm system.


  1. Fire Protection Systems
    1. The Fire Protection System Impairment procedures apply to the following systems. This includes planned or emergency outages of the system or devices.
      1. Fire Alarm System
      2. Detection System
      3. Special Suppression Systems (CO2, Clean Agent, Dry Chemical, Water Spray)
      4. Automatic Sprinkler Systems
      5. Standpipe and hose systems
      6. Fire Pumps and water storage tanks
      7. Underground piping and control valves
  2. Compliance and Responsibilities
    1. Any person, and his/her organization, who performs fire system installation, maintenance, testing, repair or other operations which requires impairment of a fire system shall be responsible for compliance with these procedures.
    2. It is the responsibility of the Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) department to develop and maintain this procedure and to train the appropriate personnel on the use of this procedure.
    3. Scheduled (non-emergency) fire system impairment permits must be approved and signed by EH&S before the system is disabled. In the absence of the EH&S the VP of Operations, Director of Public Safety, or designee shall approve the permit.


  1. Notification and Authorization
    1. The person or organization reporting or scheduling fire system impairment, is referred to as the “requestor” and is responsible for coordinating the fire system impairment.
    2. Minor Impairments
      1. Fire system impairments considered to be minor in nature include fire system testing, maintenance and repairs which are of short duration (less than two hours), and does not include water supply, does not impact critical operations, and does not include substantial risk for loss of life or property.
      2. Minor impairments do not need an approved permit. However, shall an unforeseeable event occur while testing, maintaining or making repairs exceed the two (2) hour time limit, a Fire Protection Impairment Procedure must be completed.
      3. Requestor will notify the following immediately before a minor impairment:
        1. EH&S – 314-446-8133
        2. UHSP Public Safety Dispatch – 314-446-7233
        3. Central Monitoring Company
        4. FM Global Phone: 314-453-9660 or 1-800-320-6780
    3. Scheduled Impairments
      1. All scheduled fire system impairments shall be coordinated and scheduled through the Environmental Health & Safety, within 48 hours before work is performed.
      2. The following shall be notified for scheduled outages that are more than two hours in duration (or outside of regular business hours), impairments of two or more systems, or any impairment of water supply:
        1. UHSP Public Safety Dispatch – 314-446-7233
        2. Building central monitoring company
    4. Emergency Impairments
      1. The requestor shall notify immediately, the following for all emergency fire system impairments:
        1. Environmental Health & Safety – 314-446-8133
        2. UHSP Public Safety – 314-446-7233
        3. Building central monitoring company
        4. FM Global Phone: 314-453-9660 or 1-800-320-6780
  2. System Impairment Requirements
    1. When a Fire Protection System (Listed in Policy Details section) is impaired for testing, maintenance, repair or other reasons, the requestor working on the system shall request a Red Tag Permit. The requestor shall attach or post the approved permit at the fire alarm control panel.
    2. All work on a fire system shall, when possible, be continuous until the system is restored to operational status.
    3. UHSP Hot Work Permit may be required when conducting hot work operations. See Hot Work Permit Policy.
    4. Fire protection systems shall not be left disabled during off-business hours unless approved by EH&S. If approved, a fire watch system plan will need to be implemented.
  3. Fire System Restoration Requirements
    1. After completing the work, it is important to assure that the fire protection system has been properly restored. The following steps are required to assure the fire protection system has been restored:
      1. All affected components of the system shall be inspected and tested.
      2. All fire protection systems shall be mechanically secured when they are placed back in service (fire alarm system panels locked, fire sprinkler valves placed in their proper position).
      3. Place all alarms or detection devices back into service.
      4. Remove the Red Tag Permit.
      5. Return the Permit to EH&S
      6. The requestor will notify the following when the impairment is complete.
        1. Environmental Health & Safety – 314-446-8133
        2. UHSP Public Safety – 314-446-7233
        3. Building central monitoring company
        4. FM Global Phone: 314-453-9660 or 1-800-320-6780


  • NFPA 25 for the impairment of sprinkler systems
  • NFPA 72 for the impairment of the fire alarm system
  • UHSP Hot Work Permit Policy

Policy Contacts:


Contact Information

Carlin Harp

Eric Knoll

Supplemental Information: