We, as well as many companies, use a form of the FM Global Red Tag Impairment System in our Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance programs that we offer to help mitigate risks. There are three different colors for the tags that are used in the Tag Impairment System, being Green, Yellow, and Red. The different colors indicate the operational status of each system, or part thereof, and if any part has been removed from service. These different tags are used after the completion of an inspection, service, or repair, or a sprinkler related emergency such as a fire, that would put the operational status of the sprinkler system in jeopardy.


The green tag is placed on each system to indicate that after initial installation or annual inspection, it is in operational order. The tag also indicates the type of work performed from:

Static and residual pressure of the system is also noted on the tag with any additional comments and the location of the inspector’s test.

Generally, fire sprinkler systems will be left operational unless it is found that serious impairments are affecting the integrity of the sprinkler system. With an effective fire sprinkler company on your side and a proper inspection, testing, and maintenance plan implemented, your sprinkler systems will most likely be in the Green / Operational status.


The yellow tag is placed on each system to indicate that after the annual inspection, it is in operation, but has deficiencies that is not critical to the performance of the system. This tag indicates that the system may operate as installed, but deficiencies may impair the system operation, including:

  • Escutcheon Rings Missing
  • Minor Loading of Heads
  • Inadequate Head Clearance
  • Spare Wrench or Heads Missing
  • Ceiling Membrane or Tiles Missing

Static and residual pressure of the system is noted along with any other necessary comments.

While the Yellow / Operational with Deficiencies tag is better than having a Red / Inoperable tag, your sprinkler system(s) still have deficiencies that need attention. They should not go uncorrected for too long, because (depending on the severity) they can turn into a critical deficiency and further put your property, and lives, at risk.

red tag impairment system


The red tag is placed on each system to indicate that after the annual inspection, it is inoperable due to one or more of the following:

  • Water is turned off to the system
  • Frozen Pipes
  • Severe Head Obstruction
  • Inoperable Fire Department Connection
  • Uncovered areas that the system was designed to cover
  • Water pressure less than 80% of designed pressure

Impairments that cause a system to be inoperable includes any and all preplanned impairments.

Red / Inoperable tags are critical to have corrected immediately. Not only are you putting your property at risk, but you’re also putting people’s lives at risk. Should you ever have a system or systems that have the inoperable tag on it, you should communicate with your fire sprinkler service provider on the best approach to correcting the impairment and establish a timeline to have the work completed on a timely basis.

Once all impaired equipment has been restored to normal working order, it shall be verified that any necessary inspections and tests have been conducted to verify that affected systems are operational, supervisors have been advised that protection is restored, the fire department has been advised that protection is restored, the property owner or designated representative, insurance carrier, alarm company, and other authorities having jurisdiction have been advised that protection is restored, and the impairment tag has been removed from said system.

Questions about Implementing the Red Tag Impairment System?

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