Keeping your Fire-fighting Pumps up and running

Keeping your Fire-fighting Pumps  up and running

Fire-fighting pumps are your first line of defence in case of fire disasters. Before the fire engines arrive, fire-fighting pumps are the lifesavers that mitigate the spread of fire. However, we need to ask ourselves, “how often do we need to use fire-fighting pumps?” Not very often!

If you think about it, fire-fighting pumps, though an absolute necessity, are rarely used unless there is a need. So oftentimes, maintenance, testing, and checking of these pumps are ignored by establishments. Therein lies the greatest risk, because you wouldn’t want to be caught in an emergency situation where your pumps fail to work when you need them the most. Therefore, it is imperative to test and check fire-fighting pumps regularly, and also focus on their regular maintenance.

Inspection and testing – more often is better

With fire-fighting pumps playing a crucial role in fire suppression, it is essential to regularly test and inspect the pumps by certified engineers. Both diesel-based and electrical fire-fighting pumps must be checked at least once a week. Further, more detailed inspections can be scheduled monthly, bi-annually, and annually by qualified personnel. Tests and inspections must be conducted for:

Pump house: Pumps house or pump room is the place where your fire-fighting pump is installed. Here, the temperature of the room is most important and it needs to be checked every week. Pump houses that have an electric motor or diesel engine pumps with engine heaters, must have a steady temperature. You should also check for water leakages that lead to pooling on the floors.

Pump system: To ensure consistent reliability and performance, it is essential to test the system that runs the following types of fire-fighting pumps:

  • Diesel-based and electrical-based pumps
  • Pumps with limited-service controllers
  • Pumps with vertical turbines
  • Suction pumps that take water from ground-level tanks or any other water source that does not provide sufficient pressure

Fire-fighting Maintenance at a glance

Here is a list of things that are mandatory when it comes to your fire-fighting pump maintenance.

Weekly Inspection

  • Temperature checks: Make sure the temperature in the pump house is not less than 40 oF if there is an engine heater, or at least 70 oF if there is no engine heater.
  • Ventilating Louvres: Ensure that they are operating freely without any water being collected on the floors.
  • Valves and suction line: Pump suction, bypass, and discharge valves must be fully open and the pressure gauge must be normal in the suction line.
  • Fuel tank and batteries: The fuel tank (for diesel-based pumps) must be at least two-thirds full and the voltage and charging current readings of the batteries must be normal.
  • Engine oil and cooling water: Both should be absolutely full.
  • Alarm pilots and Controller pilot lights: While the alarm pilot should be off, the controller pilot should always be in ‘power on’ mode.

Weekly no-flow (churn) tests

A no-flow test needs to be conducted, depending on the type of fire-fighting pumps installed.

  • Diesel-based engine pumps: These need to be operated in a no-flow condition at least once a week for 30 minutes to allow all the various components to function seamlessly.
  • Electric Motor Pumps: These pumps must be allowed to run for at least 10 minutes every week in no-flow conditions.

Bi-Annual/Annual testing and maintenance

To ensure that the fire-fighting pumps you have installed are in working order, maintenance checks must be conducted every 6 or 12 months with ‘full flow’ tests.

Additionally, the system suction, discharge pressure, pump packing glands, discharge valves, and other components need to be thoroughly tested. Noises, leaks, vibrations, and signs of damage must be checked to ensure that the fire-fighting pumps are in prime form when they need to be used.

To sum it up…

Whichever fire-fighting pump you opt for, testing and maintenance are of utmost importance, so is the quality of pumps you install. JC Yared, one of the most sought-after names in the industry across the Middle Eastern, African and regional markets, offers a range of world-class firefighting pumps in partnership with industry leaders like Peerless Pumps. With our pumps, you can rest assured that the quality will never be a compromise and regular testing and maintenance will not throw you any surprises.