Larger buildings like big box stores or those that are vertically stacked like a high-rise or office building require some type of water delivery system to provide for fire department suppression operations. Such buildings will typically employ fire department connections (FDCs) as the water delivery system.
On buildings that are equipped with standpipes and/or sprinkler systems, there will be an FDC located on the outside of the building. The FDC is designed to allow the fire department to supply and boost the incoming pressure for a standpipe and to boost the incoming pressure and supply for the sprinkler system so that optimal performance can be achieved.
To comply with building codes and fire codes, the FDC must be labelled. The FDC will be labeled with the words “standpipe” and/or “sprinkler system” on it. These labels help to ensure that the right FDC is supplied. If there is only one FDC, then there is no concern, but if there are two or more FDCs, then ensuring the right FDC is supplied will be crucial.
Why is there a need for two or more FDCs on a building? Depending upon the size of the building and the complexity of it, will require multiple standpipe systems and/or sprinkler systems. Each of these systems will have a dedicated FDC on the outside of the building for fire department use.
When securing the FDC, make sure you read the label to choose the right FDC to hook up to. As you will see in the examples provided, FDCs can be labelled as “standpipe” only, “sprinkler” only, or a combination of both.
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Preplanning buildings in your response district will help identify which FDCs are present and ensure that labels are present and legible.
Equipment needed: access to buildings with FDCs, camera, spanner wrench
Goal: To become familiar with the different FDC’s that are located within the response district.
- Locate the different buildings within the response district that are equipped with FDCs.
- Choosing a few of them, visit the building to identify what type of label is affixed to the FDC.
- Identify the type of FDC that is being provided with respect to hose hook-up
- A camera can be used to take a picture of the FDC label to assist with preplanning the building.
- When looking at the FDC, use the spanner wrench to remove the caps to make sure the FDC caps can be removed easily.
- Once the caps are off, inspect the FDC to ensure there are no obstructions inside.
- Ensure the FDC label is legible and affixed to the FDC. Identify which type of system it is.
- FDC caps should be hand tight and not seized or cranked on too tight on the FDC.
- When inspecting the FDC inlet, use the spanner wrench to poke inside to remove any debris.
Mark van der Feyst has been in the fire service since 1999 and is a firefighter with the Fort Gratiot (MI) Fire Department. He is an international instructor teaching in Canada, the United States, and India, and at FDIC. He is also the lead author of Residential Fire Rescue (Fire Engineering Books & Video). He can be contacted at Mark@FireStarTraining.com.