During firefighting operations in buildings protected by sprinkler and/or standpipe systems, the ability of the local fire department to appropriately supply these systems depends on proper signage being provided at the buildings fire department connections. It is the responsibility of the system designer to specify system information during design and installation due to their understanding of the layout and intent of the system(s) operation. This signage then becomes the responsibility of the property owner to maintain for the life of the building.
When specifying the appropriate signage for the building’s fire department connection(s), the two most important factors to consider are; 1) what the fire department connection is supplying, and 2) the location of the area being served.
The International Building Code (IBC), NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems, and NFPA 14: Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems, all require signage be provided at the fire department connection identifying the type of system being supplied (e.g., “Auto Sprinkler,” “Dry Standpipe,” “Sprinkler and Standpipe,” etc.) on permanently affixed, weatherproof placards. Where multiple fire department connections feed different zones or systems, each fire department connection needs to identify the system(s) or area(s) served. Clear, appropriately maintained signage by the property owner will enhance the fire department’s ability to supplement the sprinkler or standpipe system rapidly and reliably during building emergencies.
In addition, the pressure required to adequately supply the respective system needs to be identified such that fire department operations can occur effectively. NFPA 13 further outlines that the pressure required to adequately operate the fire department connection be indicated on the signage unless that pressure is 150 psi or less. This 150 psi is a critical number as NFPA 13E: Recommended Practice for Fire Department Operations in Properties Protected by Sprinkler and Standpipe Systems provides guidance to the local fire department as to how to operate sprinkler and standpipe systems effectively, recommends systems be supplied at 150 psi. Where the pressure necessary to serve the systems exceeds 150 psi, the systems’ pressure needs to be included on the signage to allow the pump operator to supply the system effectively.
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