Fire pump testing is a critical part of a sprinkler system inspection that helps ensure the delivery of water to sprinkler heads in the event of a fire. Fire pump testing is particularly important for high-rise buildings – because fire pumps must move water upward against gravity, and fast, to ensure fire suppression on the higher floors of the building.
Also, on a practical note, given that fire pumps are the most expensive component of a sprinkler system, fire pump testing (and the resulting maintenance) can extend the life of this expensive piece of equipment.
The BirdDog Life Safety Inspection System Helps Ensure That Fire Pumps Are In Good Working Order
BirdDog’s Fire Pump Inspection Software Module includes both a fire pump inspection question set and flow test graphing software.
BirdDog’s fire pump inspection question set leads inspectors through a series of questions and prompts of what fire pump attributes to inspect, with pull-down options for answers.
BirdDog’s fire pump flow test graphing software does the heavy lifting by offloading complex mathematical equations from the inspector. This special module of the BirdDog Inspection System handles the complex calculations that are needed to create graphs the show the fire pump’s performance from a flow test.
DID YOU KNOW:
BirdDog’s Fire Pump Inspection Software Module Accommodates Inspections For Both Electric & Diesel Fire Pumps.
The BirdDog Fire Pump Inspection Software Module Yields Many Benefits
Since not all sprinkler systems have a fire pump, BirdDog’s Fire Pump Inspection Module comes as a separate system component. Here’s a look at some of the benefits of BirdDog’s fire pump testing & inspection offering:
Benefit 1: It’s Easy To Use – BirdDog’s fire pump inspection module guides inspectors through the fire pump inspection process.
Benefit 2: At A Glance Pass-Fail Determinations – The BirdDog Inspection System helps inspectors make pass-fail determinations, quickly and easily.
Benefit 3: The Software Handles The Math – The mathematical calculations for fire pump flow testing graphic are based on complex hydraulics for fire protection formulas. Inspectors can breathe a sigh of relief that BirdDog software handles the complicated mathematical calculations for graphing the flow test.
Benefit 4: Verifies & Proves The Fire Pump Has Been Inspected – The BirdDog Inspection System verifies the fire pump has been inspected with time- and date-stamped results.
Benefit 5: Helps Property Owners Plan For Capital Investments – BirdDog’s Fire Pump Inspection Module shows immediate inspection results. It also provides insights on how much “life” is left in the fire pump – based on fire pump testing results. Since this is the most expensive component of a sprinkler system, BirdDog helps property owners & managers plan and budget for replacement of the fire pump.
“BirdDog’s Fire Pump Inspection Software Module helps ensure that the fire pump is in good working order, and that it will be able to deliver water at the volume & pressure that’s needed in the event of a fire.”
– Top Myers, Asurio President.
Asurio’s Management Had A Special Role In Improving The Safety of Fire Pump Testing & Inspections
While it’s critically important to ensure that fire pumps actually work, there have been deaths and catastrophic injuries from inspecting the controller unit of electric fire pumps. NFPA Today reported in a December 2020 article that the 3 main hazards of inspecting electric fire pumps are electrical shocks, arc flashes, and arc blasts. Inspectors have been killed. Inspectors have sustained 2nd– and 3rd-degree burns from this process.
That’s why, in 2016, Asurio President Top Myers and a group of people in life safety contracting, life safety equipment manufacturing, and the NFPA embarked on an initiative to change the NFPA inspection protocols for electric fire pumps.
After extensive research, Mr. Myers (who sits on multiple NFPA technical committees) and his colleagues submitted recommendations for new electric fire pump inspection protocols. The group’s recommendations started with eliminating inspection of the controller unit of an electric fire pump (which can hold a high-voltage charge).
Their rationale was that, if you first perform a flow test, and the fire pump passes, it’s likely there is no electrical problem. Therefore, there would be no need for a general inspector to touch or open the controller unit.
If the fire pump fails the flow test, then there are 2 possibilities: a) a mechanical problem, or b) an electrical problem. General inspectors would be safe to check for mechanical problems or leaks. Mechanical issues could then be repaired.
If a fire pump failed its flow test but passed mechanical testing, then an electrical problem would be the likely culprit. In those instances, a professional electrician specially trained to deal with high-voltage equipment should be deployed.
After an extensive series of reviews, the NFPA approved the new fire pump testing protocols. TIA 14-1 was issued first. TIA 11-5 was issued several months later. Then the TIAs were incorporated into the latest editions of NFPA (the 2020 Standard).
“No question, you don’t want to compromise fire pump testing,” explained Top Myers. “But why would you put an inspector in harm’s way when there are alternative ways to determine if a fire pump is operating correctly? These new fire pump testing & inspection protocols will save lives.”