Sprinkler systems are common features in many buildings because they are one of the most effective methods of quickly controlling a fire. When the sprinkler system is activated, water is delivered to the sprinklers at a pressure that’s greater than the usual mains pressure. The increased pressure is achieved through the use of a fire pump, which accelerates the flow rate of the water.
How Does a Fire Pump Work?
A fire pump works through the use of an engine, which can be powered by electricity, diesel, or sometimes by steam turbines. The pump is activated when one or more of the sprinklers in the system is triggered, causing the pressure in the system to drop below a specific level. Fire pumps are needed wherever the existing water pressure is insufficient to work effectively in a sprinkler system. It is recommended that an independent source of power is used for fire pumps, which is why many electrically powered pumps have a connection to an external, emergency generator.
How do you Test a Fire Pump?
Building owners and/or employers have a legal duty to ensure that suitable fire prevention and fire-fighting equipment is in use and functional. An annual inspection by a third party who meets the relevant NFPA 25 guidelines is required. In between annual inspections, it is recommended that the pump is run for a short period once a week to check performance. Regular visual checks are also recommended, in order that early signs of wear can be detected.