How Water Contamination Affects Fire Safety

Water contamination impacts more than just drinking water, and it can have a negative impact on fire safety systems. Learn what you can do to prevent contaminated water from making your system fail.

Fire and Water Contamination: A Deadly Combination

When water sources like those in Flint, Michigan, are contaminated, the first concern is generally making sure local residents have clean, safe water to drink. Equally important, however, is the potential impact corrosive water supplies have on fire suppression systems. Water contamination can happen anywhere, and when it does it is important to be vigilant about fire safety.

Private Concerns

Many offices, businesses, hotels and apartment complexes have automatic firefighting systems that activate when a fire starts. These systems can often be found throughout the building, but they may be focused more on the facility’s kitchen. They typically involve sprinklers that will douse the fire with water to help control it until the fire department arrives. Unfortunately, corrosive water can cause rust that, along with large contamination particulates, can clog the system and prevent the water from reaching the sprinkler head. This may allow the fire to spread more quickly and cause more damage.

Public Problems

Even if you don’t have a sprinkler system and rely solely on a home extinguisher for fire protection and suppression, contaminated water can still put you at risk. The equipment firefighters use to soak a fire can also become clogged with rust and other debris when water is contaminated. When arriving on the scene, fire personnel flush fire hydrants before hooking into and using them. If the water is rusty or extremely dirty and doesn’t clear quickly, they won’t use the hydrant’s water.


To ensure proper operation of your fire system, it’s important to have it inspected at least once a year. It’s also important to keep an eye on local Las Vegas news. If you hear reports of corrosive or contaminated water, have your system checked right away to make sure it will function properly if you need it.