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Basic Info About Your Fire Department Connections (FDCs)

Posted on: October 24, 2011

As effective as a well-maintained fire sprinkler is at keeping your building safe from fires, there may come a time when the sprinkler isn’t enough. When this happens, is your building ready for fire department intervention? Your building should have inlets along one of the outside walls labeled“fire department connections.” Fire department connections allow the fire department to hook up one of their pumpers to your fire sprinklers, providing you with more pressure and water than your pump can deliver. They are especially useful if there has recently been some interruption to the city water supply due to storms or other such events.

Nine times out of ten, the fire department will hook their hose lines into the FDC to supplement your building’s existing fire sprinklers rather than attack the fire in your building with their own hoses. This helps maximize your building’s fire suppression capabilities while minimizing damage from the fire department’s hoses. It also helps deliver more water uninterrupted into your building – if the department hooked into a hydrant and tried to pump water while your sprinkler was running, both the sprinkler and the hoses would be running at reduced capacity!

FDC Requirements

The fire code lays out a number of specific requirements for your FDCs. These include:

Location

  • Your FDC should be at least 40 ft away from buildings and other potential exposures
  • Your FDC must be installed on the address side of the building and must be easily visible and accessible from the street
  • If you have a backflow preventer your FDC must be installed on the system side of the backflow preventer
  • Your FDC must be within 5 ft of the curb or walkways adjacent to a public street or fire department access road

Identification

  • Your FDC must be painted red, with no paint on the actual swivel connectors
  • Two-inch high, white address numbers must be used to label the FDC piping
  • A metal sign with one inch letters denoting “AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER,” “STANDPIPE” and “TEST CONNECTION” must be mounted on FDCs

Other FDC Requirements

  • If your FDC was installed in a way that it’s not visible to the fire department when they arrive, an approved sign must be mounted on the front of your building with the letters FDC and an arrow pointing the connection
  • The FDC must be easy to access quickly, and should not be blocked by fences, trees, bushes, walls, etc.

Common FDC Problems

Obviously, something as important as the fire department connections for your sprinkler should be regularly maintained. There are a number of things that can happen to your FDC that would prevent the fire department from being able to use it – if any of these things happen to your FDC, be sure you take care of them right away!

  • Damaged or frozen swivel
  • Stuck plug on a female swivel
  • Damaged or totally unusable FDC

If you want to have your fire department connections inspected to make sure they are ready for the fire department in case of an emergency, call Confires! We can inspect your New Jersey, Delaware or Philadelphia building’s FDCs and all of your other fire safety systems to make sure you will be safe at all times. Contact us today to schedule your FDC inspection!

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