A fire pump is a component within a water-based fire protection system that helps to increase the water flow rate, making it easier for firefighters to access enough water to extinguish a fire. If you’re responsible for purchasing or maintaining fire safety equipment, it’s important to understand what a fire pump is, how it works, and its role in the system.
A fire sprinkler system isn’t complete without a fire pump, and ensuring that it’s properly sized is vital for keeping your building or facility safe in the event of an emergency. The fire pump is a hydraulically driven pump that is used to increase the water pressure in a sprinkler system when the demand for more water than the fire sprinkler system can provide is present.
Fire pumps are a critical part of any fire protection system, and they should be installed by qualified professionals who can make sure the system is configured to meet the requirements of the Local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and other applicable regulations. This includes determining which type of fire pump is best for the installation and understanding how it is tested on a weekly and monthly basis.
When selecting a fire fighting pump, it’s important to take into account the pump’s PSI and GPM ratings. These are the two key measurements that will affect the force of the water being pumped out of the pump and into the hoses, which is important for fighting a fire. The higher the PSI, the more pressure the pump is capable of exerting and the more water it can move per minute.
The types of fire pumps vary by application, but the most common is a vertical in-line pump. This pump is specifically designed to be installed in a pipe and has suction and delivery lines inline with each other, which makes it easy for maintenance and cleaning. The vertical in-line pump is also available in oil-lubricated and water-lubricated versions, depending on the needs of your facility.
Another popular fire pump is a jet pump, which is a high-pressure centrifugal pump that can deliver water at up to 100 GPM at 300 psi net pump pressure through its 2 1/2-inch discharge and 1 1/4-inch suction inlet. It can be used for quick water supply on minor structural fires or to fill booster tanks on apparatus. The jet pump is also useful for draining cellars or other low areas that collect water. It is limited in size to a maximum of 25 inches on each side and 150 pounds.
Finally, a jockey pump is a small fire pump that’s primarily used to maintain pressure in the fire sprinkler system during non-emergency conditions. It does this by creating and stopping automatically based on the fire system’s water demand, which helps to keep the pressure in the system consistent so it doesn’t need to be manually started and stopped by operators. It is also designed to absorb small losses that occur during operation, which is one of the main reasons why a pressure maintenance system is required for NFPA 23.