Fire flow tests are critical to site development, and the earlier they can be requested or received, the better for your project.
How do you request a fire flow for your site?
To obtain a fire flow test, the fire department that holds jurisdiction for the subject site must be contacted. A common way to send in a request is an online application that many fire departments have available on their website. They typically require information from the subject site regarding hydrant number and location to ensure they test the correct line. Once the request is submitted with the fee, which varies between jurisdictions, the fire department sends a crew out to test the pressure, velocity and flow rate within the water line.
Why is a fire flow test required?
A fire flow request is needed to obtain the water pressure within public water lines to ensure they have adequate pressure and flow rate to service a building in normal operating conditions and in the event of an emergency situation. The required fire flow is set forth by the International Fire Code or IFC. Once the building type and largest isolated fire separation area is known, the required fire flow can be determined.
What information does a fire flow test provide?
A fire flow test will yield important information regarding the existing, public water line from which the subject site is proposing a service connection. The test provides the flow rate, the static, the residual and the velocity pressures for the subject site (see below for an example). Once received, the subject site’s actual flow rate can be compared to the required flow rate to determine if a pressure increase will be required, usually in the form of a booster pump. Fire flow tests are critical to site development, and the earlier they can be requested/received, the better.