NFPA 14 and How to Install and Maintain Them
You may have heard of emergency standpipes and are unsure about how they work. This article explains NFPA 14 and what they are, as well as how to install and maintain them. If you are concerned about the safety of your building, emergency standpipes can help you avoid tragedy. NFPA 14 is an excellent reference guide for choosing an emergency standpipe. Also, keep reading to learn about its types and installation.
NFPA 14 emergency standpipes and hose systems are designed to help firefighters in case of fire. While the overall trend of fires has decreased since 2008, the number of fires is still on the rise. Fire-related property damage and fatalities are increasing by the day. Fortunately, NFPA 14 covers all aspects of installing and maintaining a standpipe system, from design to installation. This document also provides important information for end users, including the necessary pressures and travel distances.
NFPA 14 defines three classes of standpipe systems. Class I standpipe systems are for fire departments with 2 1/2-inch hose connections, while Class II and Class III are for trained personnel. The third class is for commercial buildings, and is intended for both types of connections. Standpipes can be designed as automatic or manual. They must meet IBC Section 905.3.1, “Height” for use in fires.
In addition to emergency standpipes, NFPA 14 also provides guidelines for installing fire hose systems and standpipes in multi-story buildings. Proper installation and design of these systems are vital to firefighting operations. This standard provides guidance for engineers and building owners in ensuring the system will work properly. You can also learn about NFPA 14 by registering for FireSmarts’ webinar. For a more comprehensive understanding of the NFPA 14 Standard, sign up for the webinar today. The webinar will help you learn more about standpipes and hose systems.
NFPA 14 provides a comprehensive list of requirements for standpipe systems. The IBC references NFPA 14 in Chapter 35 of its regulations. Typically, these standards are incorporated into the state building code. However, the 2012 IBC references the 2010 edition of NFPA 14.
Fire departments, for example, can use two different types of emergency standpipes, which each meet different standards. NFPA 14 is the most commonly known document. It is a design standard for emergency hose systems, and contains pertinent information for end users. It specifies required pressures and allowable travel distances. NFPA 14 has two versions: Class I and Class II. Both types are used in the same way, but they are used for different purposes.
An uncontrolled fire on a high-rise building is especially devastating. The fire can spread to neighboring floors, causing a total loss of life and property. The presence of a functional standpipe system makes these systems mission-critical for fire safety. Listed below are some of their benefits. This fire safety feature is essential for any high-rise building. When installed properly, emergency standpipes will help keep firefighters safe in a variety of scenarios.
Class II standpipe systems are generally installed in older buildings and provide a connection for a 1.5″ hose. These systems are not automatic; fire department personnel must manually connect to them and operate them. However, these systems are not as widely used as they were a few decades ago because of their liability concerns. Typically, these systems are found in older buildings that were built prior to the 1980s. In addition, many building owners are concerned about their liability if an untrained firefighter gets injured while using an emergency standpipe.
Fire department manuals do not contain procedures for how to locate standpipes on buildings. In addition, they do not cover how to repair damaged systems. Often, standpipes are installed on the premises of large buildings, such as shopping malls, industrial buildings, and parking structures. These fire safety systems are also common in bridges, tunnels, and large outdoor yards. In addition to building codes, many buildings include emergency standpipe systems as part of their insurance requirements.
Building codes contain requirements for the installation of emergency standpipes. Most states in the US adopt a version of the International Building Code, either in its entirety or with modifications. In both cases, these codes become the state’s building code. NFPA 14 is the most widely accepted code for standpipe installation. Here’s how to install them properly:
Manual dry standpipe systems work similarly to wet systems. A fire department pumper forces water from an external water supply into the pipes. These systems are cheaper and more portable, but they cannot detect leaks. As a result, the fire department may need to access the standpipes for rescue operations. Moreover, they may not be as effective in extreme conditions, like a building with many stories. Regardless of how the system is installed, building owners should consider its cost and regulatory requirements.
NFPA 14 provides specific installation instructions for emergency hose and standpipe systems. Installation must follow NFPA 14 in order to ensure protection during fire emergencies. NFPA 14 also outlines a system’s pump and hose loads, as well as its valves and equipment. The NFPA 14 standard specifies how the water is positioned for discharge in a spray pattern or a stream. NFPA 14 also requires the placement of hose connections in the emergency standpipe system.
The International Building Code specifies that the highest floor level of a building requires the installation of a Class III standpipe system. For buildings with more than three stories, the floor level of the highest story must be at least 30 feet above the lowest level of the fire department’s access vehicle. Those buildings that exceed these requirements should also install Class II standpipes. A building’s height is another important consideration. Buildings with an upper story elevation greater than 30 feet are required to install a Class III standpipe.
The FDNY manual provides guidelines for the maintenance of water-based fire protection systems, but it does not cover maintenance of internal standpipes. FDNY does, however, outline some common maintenance problems that arise when standpipes are inoperable or malfunctioning. These include missing or cracked caps, defective threads, debris stuffed into the connection by vandals, and out-of-round female swivels and clappers.
Typical standpipe systems require quarterly inspections, and a water flow alarm device should be installed in the piping between the initial hose connection and the water supply. An alarm device can help prevent water damage from spreading to adjacent spaces in the event of a fire. However, maintenance is often a challenge due to the multiple components of standpipe systems. As a result, these systems need to be regularly checked by a trained technician.
The most important standpipe inspection is a visual inspection once a week. It ensures that control valves are in the open position and that firefighters will receive water when opening a fire-fighting hose valve on the fire floor. Also, standpipes should undergo a flow-test every five years to ensure that they are capable of meeting the hydraulic demand. Ultimately, standpipes are critical for fire protection in buildings and must be maintained properly to keep them functioning.
Proper maintenance of emergency standpipes is crucial to maintaining firefighter safety. Regular visual inspections of standpipe systems should include checks on the threads, fire hoses, and hand wheel. This includes checking the size and type of threads. Ensure that they are in good condition and are easy to disconnect or reconnect. In addition to visual inspections, firefighter safety is compromised when a fire has broken a standpipe, so the maintenance of standpipes is essential for the life safety of the firefighters.
Whether your building is equipped with a fire suppression standpipe systemfed by commercial water pump installations or not is of paramount importance to the safety of your property. If not, you should understand which type you have and what its maintenance requirements are. A fire protection company such as Koorsen can answer all of your questions about the safety of emergency standpipes and what regulations apply to them. Here are some of the most common types of emergency standpipe systems and what they are used for.
Class I systems feature hose connections that are 2.5 inches in diameter. Professional firefighters must bring their own hoses because the water pressure is so high. Class II systems, on the other hand, use a special 3-inch connection. This makes them easier to handle and control, and they require trained personnel to operate. However, in most cases, Class III systems are installed in residential buildings. If you are concerned about the safety of a particular emergency standpipe system in your home, you can consult the manufacturer’s website to determine the specific system that is right for your building.
In addition to providing redundancy in the event of a sprinkler system failure, standpipes also allow fire departments to avoid carrying heavy, wet hoses up and down stairwells. Because they are more reliable and efficient than sprinkler systems, they help firefighters avoid carrying a heavy hose up and down stairwells. Additionally, the standpipe system also helps to minimize the duration of water discharge in a fire. Many cities have adopted effective laws regarding standpipe supervision.
NFPA 13E, the National Fire Protection Association’s design standard for emergency standpipe systems, is a critical guideline for fire departments. In addition to the NFPA 14 code, NFPA 13E provides guidance to emergency responders. While the NZ Standard for firefighting waterway equipment states that standpipe systems should never be welded, the recommended practice for fire departments is to install emergency standpipe systems that are non-welded.
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