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Why Is It Important To Conduct Fire Hydrant Testing?

Fire Hydrant Testing or fire flow tests are moreover the same and are done for special occasions. In general, fire hydrant testing is done to determine the availability of water. However, there are multiple reasons why fire hydrant marketing tests are performed, but some of the tests are mentioned below. 

  • To determine the actual availability of water when a real fire breaks out.
  • To determine the real availability of water for the design of fire sprinkler systems. 
  • To determine the availability of water for designing domestic water systems.
  • To check the actual reliability of main water extensions.
  • To identify which all systems require replacements and improvements.
  • To determine the smooth functioning of water distribution by checking the conditions of closed valves. 

This testing is done to evaluate the actual water data to be used for future uncertainties. Usually, this data is used by the fire fighting companies for planning, training, and marking the hydrants in the most effective and efficient manner. The water data derived from these testing is also used in designing water systems and planning their usage. The municipal corporation might also seek help from the water data derived from fire hydrant testing to manage the high flow conditions. It is also used to determine the pressure and capabilities of producing a flow of water distribution systems. Water data is also used for the calibration of hydraulic powers. 

Now The Question comes that how frequently should fire hydrant testing be done in order to avoid any mishappening or casualties. 

If the tale of old wives is to be believed, then.

  • As per the American Water Works Association (AWWA) recommends that flow testing of all the areas has to be done if not more, at least once every ten years. It is also mentioned in the 6th chapter of AWWA-M17. 
  • The National Fire Protection Association demands to get your fire hydrants tested for underground and exposed piping at least once in every 5 years. It is again justified and written in the table 7.1.1.2, 2014 version of NFPA 25.

How are these tests performed and what are the different types of fire hydrant testings. 

  • Type 1 – Main Capacity Test

This test is performed to determine the availability of water supply in the main extension. Suppose, you are designing a fire sprinkler system then you must make the most of it. You can seek help from a resident hydrant as well as separate downstream flow hydrants combined. 

  • Type 2 – Hydrant Capacity Test

A hydrant capacity test is performed to determine the available flow rate by the hydrant and will it be able to combat an emergency fire outbreak. In case if you are willing to perform a fire flow test of hydrants then in that case you must seek help from the residual hydrant as well as the flow hydrant.

Fire hydrants require regular inspection because there might be some issues that can hamper the functionality of the same and might give birth to unwanted and undesirable situations. Let us have a look at what type of incidents can hamper the functionality of hydrants.

  • Damage caused by the vehicles, accidentally.
  • Obstructed or closed valves.
  • Natural corrosion or rusting.
  • Some sort of mechanical malfunctioning.

Below mentioned is a checklist that needs to be taken care of when a technician comes to inspect.

  • The visibility and accessibility of the fire hydrant.
  • Ideal height from above the ground.
  • Missing or broken caps.
  • Inoperable gaskets, nozzles, and valves.
  • Obstructions.
  • Mapping and placements of marks on the map.
  • The condition of the color coat and coding.
  • The efficient alignment of the plumbing things.
  • Proper functionality of the drainage in order to manage the residuals after use.
  • Check the flow of the water by using a pressure gauge. 

I hope this article would have helped you with all the things you need to know about fire hydrant testing and why it is important to keep a regular check on this and gather the data collected through testing.