NFPA Researches Flame-Retardant Fire Hoses

Unfortunately for firefighters, being in the line of duty comes with certain dangers, among them even death. According to the NFPA, there were 97 on-duty firefighter deaths in 2013. The good news is that that number is down to 87 in 2014, but this is still a number that must be improved upon. Sadly, some of these fatalities are the result of popular lightweight fire hoses that are suffering from “burn-through,” a scenario where the fire hose burns as a result of the fire they’re trying to extinguish, and is therefore rendered useless to our heroes. This was the case in a March blaze in Boston, where two firefighters were killed in a nine-alarm fire on Beacon Street.

This problem is exacerbated by using the lightweight hoses for routine house and apartment fires, since these hoses are supposed to only be used for high rises. This was not the case in the Boston fire, but it’s a common issue seen elsewhere. Continue reading

The Best Steel Bolted Fire Protection Water Storage Tanks

In the field of fire protection water storage tanks there are several types of tank options, and some of the most commonly used are corrugated, steel welded, steel bolted, and concrete. We have found that for most projects, the steel bolted design has the most advantages over other types when considering cost, manufacturing quality, field erection time, and product durability.Central Fire Mobis

When it comes to steel bolted fire protection water storage tanks, the experts here at Steven Brown & Associates recommend CST Storage. CST Storage has been an industry leader in the steel bolted storage tank for both dry bulk storage, as well as fire protection water storage. Continue reading

Fire Pump Testing and NFPA 25 – Automatic Starting is the Priority

Over the course of this year, we have encountered several disabled fire pumps due to burnt up or failed fire pump controller components.  This can happen for various reasons — age, misuse, lightning, power surges, etc.  But, for one particular installation, what troubled me the most was that for months at a time, no one knew there was a problem at all.  To the outside observer, everything seemed to be working fine. You press the ‘start’ button and the pump runs.  But it wasn’t until a simulation of a pressure drop was performed that the problem revealed itself:  the automatic start circuitry was damaged.  The pump would start manually, but not automatically.  Several “monthly tests” did not reveal the problem because no one thought to test the equipment automatically.

NFPA 25 – the Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems provides an excellent guide as to what equipment needs to be tested, and how frequently.  And very often, the property or building owner hires the right person — licensed and qualified — to run the fire pump through its proper test.  But if you are not careful, it is easy for someone to simply press a start button to test the operation of a fire pump, and in so doing forget or neglect to test the automatic starting of the fire pump. Continue reading

Home Fire Safety Tips & Tools

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The American Red Cross recently announced a national campaign that aims to reduce deaths and injuries from fires in the home. The goal is to reduce these numbers by over 25% in the next five years, and this is an absolutely plausible goal as our society grows smarter about fire safety. Technological advances such as hard wired smoke detectors, home sprinkler systems, and updated fire codes and standards all provide us with a much better chance to survive a fire compared to previous generations. That being said, there still are steps we should all take to further our personal fire prevention repertoire, and some of our favorite fire prevention tips and tools are outlined below. Continue reading

Centrifugal Pump Priming

UL/FM fire pumps require what is commonly called a “flooded suction,” or a positive suction pressure prior to starting.  The concept is that the water supply source must arrive at the pump impeller on its own, without the aid of the pump.  This will guarantee that the pump is properly primed and ready for operation.   With many centrifugal pumps, as little as 3% air in the casing can be enough to prevent the proper operation of the pump.  So it is important to maintain a positive pressure on the pump prior to starting.

Once started and running, a centrifugal pump can operate with a vacuum, with its negative suction pressure, on the suction side of the pump, but prior to starting there could be air present in the pump casing to prevent proper operation. Continue reading

New Sprinkler Legislation Passes in New York

It would make sense that if you are renting or leasing a home, or at least thinking about doing so, you know whether or not the building you are looking at has a fire sprinkler system. This was not true in New York until this month, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation that will require new leases to detail, in BOLD print, whether or not the tenant will be protected by a fire sprinkler system. Continue reading

Preventing Workplace Fire Hazards

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According to the State Compensation Insurance Fund of California, there are between 70,000 and 80,000 serious workplace fires every year. The good news is there are simple steps that you can take to help limit the risk of these fires, and our blog today features some of the best ways to reduce the risk of fire at your place of business.

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How Often Should You Test Your Fire Pump?

If you are a building owner or facilities manager and you have a sprinkler system being supplied by a fire pump, it is your legal responsibility to maintain your equipment and keep it in proper working order.  If you don’t have the expertise or time to do this, you need to hire someone qualified who can.  But putting legal responsibility aside — it is a good thing to do anyway, considering the undeniable importance of the equipment.  In the disastrous and unfortunate event of a fire, your sprinkler system can save property and lives — assuming, of course, that it is in working order! Continue reading

Fire Pump Testing Part II – Hose Valve Manifold vs Flow Meter

This blog is the finale of our two-part series, where we continue discussing the testing of fire pumps, and we now switch our focus to the use of a flow meter device. In our second half of the series we’ll dive into the advantages and disadvantages to using flow meters instead of the hose manifold method, which was discussed in part one of our series.

The use of flow metering devices in fire pump installations has been gaining popularity over the years. Flow meters are devices installed in a water pipe that, if installed properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, will provide a visual reading of water flowing at any given moment. By holding a set flow by use of a downstream throttling valve, a large gauge will illustrate the specific flow. Many people prefer to use flow meters in a return loop from the discharge of a fire pump back to the suction of the fire pump. By doing so, they are recirculating all of the water and allow for measurement of water flow all in one place — the mechanical room. While it is possible to use flow meters in any location desired, for the purpose of this article we will address flow meter installations in the common recirculating return loop. Continue reading

Fire Pump Testing – Hose Valve Manifold vs Flow Meter

This week we embark on a two-part segment where we’ll cover fire pump testing, comparing the advantages and disadvantages of two different methods of testing water flow during a fire pump test: external water flow through a hose valve manifold on the exterior of a building, versus a flow meter recirculating loop within the mechanical room.  In our first segment, we will examine the common, traditional method of testing fire pumps through use of a hose valve test manifold. Continue reading