The fire water pump is the heart of most water-based fire protection systems. It pumps water from hydrants to sprinkler nozzles at the proper pressure and flow for extinguishing fires. Located in the fire truck or near them, it is a vital component to fire protection.
In order to operate properly, a fire pump must be correctly sized for the demand it will be required to supply. This is often done by calculating the maximum water flow (Qmax) and determining what size driver will be needed to meet it. However, many factors come into play when sizing a pump and the fire protection engineer must weigh the multiple demands on a fire pump system.
Horizontal split case fire pumps are the most popular type of fire water pump due to their sizing availability, long lifespan and easy maintenance. They are available in a variety of rated flow and pressure capacities, and can be powered by either an electric or diesel motor.
Other types of fire pumps include vertical split case and vertical in-line fire pumps. Typically, these are used for higher-pressure applications such as those on taller buildings or in warehouses. They are also easy to maintain since their split cases can be opened for pump maintenance. Unlike horizontal split case pumps, they do not require as much space.
All fire water pumps should be fully flow tested annually. Testing the pump at a no-flow condition and at 150% of rated churn flow will ensure that it can function as designed. It is also a good idea to have spare pumps available in the event of an emergency. To make the spare pumps more useful, it is recommended that they be a diesel engine driven and with independent fuel tanks. It is also a good practice to add fuel stabilizer to the tank, since old gasoline can gum up carburetors and inhibit performance. Finally, it is a good idea to color-code the hoses so that a crew knows what hose to grab for a specific application. fire water pump