November, 1997

Information Bulletin 97-3
NH-19
HOSP-7
BC-3
SLF-3
ASC-1
HOSPICE-1
CBC-7

Omega Sprinkler Heads

The Department of Health and Human Services, Health Care Financing Administration, has recently issued Life Safety Code Program Letter No. 97-05, dated October 1997, regarding Omega sprinkler heads manufactured by the Central Sprinkler Company. Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) is investigating field reports that higher than expected water pressures have been required to operate some of these sprinkler heads. Program Letter 97-05 details recommended actions; a copy of this Program Letter and three press releases from UL are attached herewith.

If your facility has an automatic sprinkler system, please verify the manufacturer of the sprinkler heads and the date(s) that they were installed. If the heads are the "Omega series" manufactured by the Central Sprinkler Company between 1982 and June 1996, please make necessary arrangements for the recommended testing.

Questions regarding this issue should be directed to Mr. James P. Loveland, P.E., Program Manager, Engineering Services Section at 651-201-3710, or Mr. Robert L. Imholte, Deputy State Fire Marshal Supervisor, at 320-685-8559.

 

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES HEALTH CARE FINANCING ADMINISTRATION MIDWEST CONSORTIUM

LIFE SAFETY CODE PROGRAM LETTER NO. 97-05, October 1997

SUBJECT: Omega Sprinkler Heads

Recently the Center for Medicaid and State Operations became aware of problems occurring with "Omega series" sprinkler heads produced by Central Sprinkler Company. Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is investigating field reports indicating that higher than expected water pressures have been required to operate some of these sprinkler heads. UL's investigation is continuing. At this time LTL is recommending that representative sprinkler samples be taken from existing sprinkler systems incorporating Omega series sprinklers so that operational testing can be conducted by Central Sprinkler Co. or UL. These heads were manufactured from 1982 through June 1996. Since then a change in materials used in the head has improved its performance. Discussions with Central Sprinkler Co. have confirmed the existence of a problem with their product.

In order to provide a fire safe environment for our beneficiaries, we are requesting that you notify the Hospitals and Nursing Facilities in your State about this problem, and advise them to take the following action:

  1. Health care facilities should check sprinkler systems installed from 1982 through June 1996 with Omega series sprinkler heads. This includes heads installed in partial sprinkler systems "hazardous areas only" of a facility. Attached is a list of Omega series model heads that are included in the investigation.

  2. If suspected Omega series heads are found, the facility should contact UL or Central Sprinkler Company for testing. The facility can call either Mr. Randy Laymon at UL (847) 272-8800, Ext. 42687, or call Central Sprinkler Company at (800) 523-6512 for instructions on sending heads in for testing

  3. The facility should document this activity, including the response and corrective action taken to alleviate any problems, if Omega Series model heads were used in the sprinkler system. The facility must have this information available for the Life Safety Code Surveyor at their next annual survey.

Enclosed are several press releases from UL that explain the situation more fully.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (312) 353-9652.

Winston Dawson
Consortium Engineer
Division of Health Standards and Quality

   

For Immediate Release, August 1, 1996
Company Contact: Tim Montgomery, 847-272-8800, ext. 42506

UL INVESTIGATES FIELD REPORTS INVOLVING OMEGA SPRINKLERS;
RECOMMENDS TESTING OF FIELD SAMPLES

NORTHBROOK, IL. -- Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is investigating field reports indicating that higher than expected water pressures have been required to operate some Central Sprinkler Company "Omega Series" sprinklers. Laboratory testing conducted by UL has confirmed that the operating pressures measured for some of the samples taken from commercial field installations exceeded the water pressure available for the installation and, under some circumstances, could affect the intended discharge of water. At this time, operation pressure test results indicate that the problems may be site specific.

"Omega Series" sprinklers are UL Listed. UL has been actively conducting a comprehensive investigation of the cause(s) of these occurrences. Until this investigation is completed, UL recommends that representative sprinkler samples be taken from existing sprinkler systems incorporating the following Omega Series models: C-1; C-1A; C-1APRO; C-1APRO ID; EC-20; EC-20A; EC-20 AID; HEC-12; HEC-12 ID; HEC-12 PRO; HEC-12A PRO; HEC-12 RES; HEC-20; HEC-20 ID; R-1; R-1A; R-1M; AC; M and Flow Control, so that operational testing can be conducted by Central Sprinkler Company or UL.

Central Sprinkler has indicated that the field reports are related to steel piping systems. Not all of these models have been reported to experience high operating pressures, however, UL recommends that samples of the sprinklers be tested.

Instructions on the proper removal and packaging procedures for taking samples from existing sprinkler systems must be obtained from Mr. Andy Post at Central Sprinkler Company (215-362-0700), before samples can be submitted for testing. Once the samples have been properly removed and packaged according to the instructions, they can be sent to either Andy Post at Central Sprinkler Company, 451 N. Cannon Ave., Lansdale, PA 19446, or to Mr. Randy Laymon at Underwriters Laboratories Inc., 333 Pfingsten Rd., Northbrook, IL 60062 for operational testing.

   

For Immediate Release: August 13, 1997
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
Company Contacts:

Tim Montgomery (847) 272-8800 Ext. 42506
Traci Maloney (847) 272-8800 Ext. 43436
Sandy Gentry (847) 272-8800 Ext. 43178
   

UL URGES TESTING OF OMEGA SERIES SPRINKLERS

NORTHBROOK, IL -- Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) is strongly urging all homeowners and other property owners whose buildings are equipped with Central Sprinkler Company's "Omega" series sprinklers to have samples of those sprinklers immediately submitted to UL or Central Sprinkler Company for operational testing. These sprinklers have been installed in homes, businesses, hospitals, hotels, schools and other public buildings since 1982. UL recommends that Omega sprinklers installed in all types of piping systems, including steel, copper and plastic pipes, be tested to determine that these sprinklers will operate in case of a fire.

Sprinkler samples can be submitted to UL for testing by contacting Mr. Randy Lamon at (847) 272-8800, Ext. 42687 or by E-mail at: laymonr@ul.com. Sprinkler samples can also be submitted to Central Sprinkler Company for testing by calling the manufacturer at, (800) 523-6512.

Prior news releases on the investigation of this equipment were issued by UL in August of 1996 and in May of 1997.

Results of UL's comprehensive, year-long investigation indicate that contaminants discovered in some sprinkler systems have caused a significant percentage of Omega sprinkler samples not to operate at a five psi (pounds per square inch) water pressure level, which is UL's requirement for new sprinklers. These contaminants include "stop leak" products that may have been improperly added to the system to seal leaks, and cutting oil residues from the installation of the system. Because the water pressure required to operate contaminated Omega sprinklers could exceed the water pressure that exists in some homes and buildings, some sprinkler heads within the installation may not operate when a fire occurs.

UL plans to continue its investigation and will work with other testing organizations to develop a common data base and study any reports of adverse performance said to be caused by factors other than contamination.

UL is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been testing products for public safety for more than a century. UL operates five major testing facilities in the United States as well as representative offices, affiliations, wholly owned subsidiaries or branches thereof located in Canada, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

For Immediate Release, August 14, 1997
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.
Company Contacts:

Tim Montgomery (847) 272-8800 Ext. 42506
Traci Maloney (847) 272-8800 Ext. 43436
Sandy Gentry (847) 272-8800 Ext. 43178
 

UL ESTABLISHES TOLL-FREE NUMBER ON OMEGA SPRINKLERS

NORTHBROOK, IL. -- Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) has established a toll-free number --(800) 758-1794-- to help homeowners, property owners, and building managers arrange for samples of Central Sprinkler Company's "Omega" series sprinklers to be sent to UL for testing and/or to provide related information on UL's on-going investigation of Omega sprinklers. Callers can speak directly with UL representatives Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Central time. Sprinkler samples can also be submitted to Central Sprinkler Company for testing by calling the manufacturer toll-free at: (800) 523-6512.

As announced in a press release issued August 13, 1997, UL is urging all homeowners and other property owners whose buildings are equipped with Omega sprinklers to have samples of those sprinklers immediately submitted to UL or Central Sprinkler Company for operational testing. UL recommends that these sprinklers, installed in all types of piping systems, including steel, copper and plastic pipes, be tested to determine that operation will occur in case of a fire.

UL has conducted a comprehensive investigation of Omega sprinklers manufactured prior to May 1996. Those sprinklers, which are no longer manufactured, contained an o-ring material that has been found to swell or degrade in some instances, when subjected to contaminants discovered in certain sprinkler systems. Omega sprinklers manufactured since May 1996 contain a silicone o-ring material for which UL has received no adverse field reports.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), automatic sprinkler systems reduce the risk of fatalities in fires by one-half to two-thirds in private homes and public buildings, including stores, offices, auditoriums and factories.

UL is an independent, not-for-profit product safety certification organization that has been investigating and listing automatic sprinklers for fire protection for more than 90 years. UL operates five major testing facilities in the United States as well as representative offices, affiliations, wholly owned subsidiaries or branches thereof located in Canada, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

Updated Thursday, 17-Mar-2011 12:42:52 CDT