Underwriters’ Laboratories Guide for Certification of Fire Department Pumpers

Underwriters’ Laboratories Guide for Certification of Fire Department Pumpers

Procedures for testing and certifying new pumpers by U. L. spelled out

This guide describes the processes under which Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. issues a certificate for individual fire department pumpers. The certificate confirms that the identified pumper has successfully completed a 3 hour pumping capability test witnessed by a representative of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc., and forms the basis to certify pumping performance at altitudes to 2000 ft. The certificate also covers certain other characteristics and equipment of the pumper, which is considered essential to proper pumping performance. It does not cover roadability or characteristics relating to the operation of the pumper as a vehicle.

The test methods and requirements are based upon NFPA No. 19, Motor Fire Apparatus. References to paragraph numbers in this Guide apply to the 1965 Edition of the NFPA specification.

On individual pumpers the Inspector of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. will forward his report to the Northbrook Office for review immediately on completion of his tests. The report will be reviewed and copies of the certificates sent to the purchaser of the pumper, the rating authority having jurisdiction, and to the manufacturer. Copies of the Manufacturers’ Record of Pumper Construction Details will be forwarded with the certificates.

Making original submittal

Manufacturers who desire to submit Fire Department pumpers for certification by Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. should make their initial inquiry to the Laboratories at the Northbrook Office, P. O. Box 247, Northbrook, Illinois—60062, by requesting applications for an original inspection of their test facilities. On receipt of this request, formal applications will be sent to the interested manufacturer, to be signed and returned to the Laboratories with: (1) a description of the test facilities at the manufacturer’s factory; (2) information as to the location of the factory; and (3) copies of Manufacturer’s Record of Pumper Constriction Details and Manufacturer’s FourHour Run-In Test Results, describing the original pumper to be tested. These forms are available on request from the Laboratories. When this material is received, the Laboratories’ engineering department will make arrangements for an engineer from our Northbrook Office, accompanied by our local inspector, to visit the factory, test the original pumper, and review the manufacturer’s test facilities. Preparation by the manufacturer for this visit should be the same as it will be for subsequent certification tests described later in this guide.

Making application

After the adequacy of the test facilities has been established, arrangements for certification tests of subsequent pumpers will be made with the local inspector. The manufacturer should telephone the local inspector and arrange a mutually satisfactory date for the test, which should be immediately confirmed in writing by the manufacturer. The apparatus to be tested is to be warmed up and running and ready for test on arrival of the inspector.

The manufacturer is to provide operating personnel who are to be in attendance at all times during the conduct of the test. The duties of the ULI inspector will be limited to observation of, and recording of, test data and other necessary notes.

Since loss of productive time due to changes in test dates or other delays will be billed to the manufacturer, it is in his interest to be fully prepared for the test on arrival of the ULI inspector. The test pumper should be ready for “drive away.”

On his arrival at the plant, the local inspector will also expect to be handed the Manufacturer’s Record of Pumper Construction Details and Manufacturer’s Four-Hour Run-In Test Results, a certified engine brake horsepower curve, including noload governed speed, and the pump manufacturer’s certification. These will be reviewed during the course of the inspection and sent to the Northbrook Office of Underwriters’ Laboratories, Inc. Copies of the Manufacturer’s Record of Pumper Construction Details will be forwarded to the purchaser and Insurance Rating Authority with the certification.

Testing and inspecting

The primary test will be a 3-hour pumping test conducted similar to the 3-hour acceptance test described in Paragraphs 3331, 3332, 3333, and 3334 of NFPA 19-1965. This will be modified to the extent that the overload test will be conducted for a 10minute duration. The inspector will start the 3-hour pumping test and make readings of flow, pressure, etc. data at 15-minute intervals. During the course of this 3-hour test run, or immediately thereafter, he will also check the following characteristics:

  1. He will check that the gasoline tank is located so that the top of the liquid in the tank is below the float level of the carburetor, or that suitable provisions are made to prevent the flow to the carburetor when the ignition switch is off. An electricallyoperated valve in the fuel line between the tank and the carburetor, which remains closed except when the ignition switch is on, will be considered satisfactory, since it provides reasonable protection against flooding the engine cylinders with gasoline when the engine is not operating. The gasoline feed shall include an electrically-operated fuel pump located at the gasoline tank. (See Paragraph 2141 of NFPA 19.)
  2. He will check that an engine governor is installed and that it will limit the speed of the engine to the maximum specified by the engine manufacturer under all conditions of operation. Paragraph 2112 of NFPA 19.
  3. He will check the fuel tank to assure that it has sufficient capacity to operate the engine for 2 hours when pumping at rated capacity. Paragraph 2145 of NFPA 19. The manufacturer may fill the tank at the beginning of the capacity test. No further filling will be permitted for continuous operation during the 2-hour test interval.
  5. He will check that suction inlets are not more than 4 ft. above the ground, have removable strainers, and are provided for both drafting and hydrant connection. At least one 2 1/2 in. independent gated suction is to be provided. Suction pipe and fittings shall be at least 2 1/2 in. inside diameter. At least one 2 ½ in. discharge outlet shall be provided for each 250 gpm rated pump capacity. Each outlet shall have a discharge valve, protective caps, drain cocks, and a retaining attachment. Paragraphs 3122 and 3123 of NFPA 19.
  6. He will check for provision of, and operability of the light at the pump operator’s position to determine conformity with Paragraph 3212 of NFPA 19.
  7. He will check for provision of a permanently attached plate to determine compliance with Paragraph 3213 of NFPA 19. This plate shall be permanently attached to the apparatus prior to arrival of the inspector.
  8. Conformity with Paragraphs 3221, 3222, and 3223 of NFPA 19 will be checked. The inspector will witness the sequence of operation necessary to put the pump into operation, and determine that the required markings, levers, locks or catches are provided.
  9. He will check to insure that a positively held hand throttle is provided to comply with Paragraph 3231 of NFPA 19.
  10. He will check for compliance with Paragraph 3232 of NFPA 19. He will also record the maximum engine cooling water temperature during the 3-hr test interval, which should not exceed 210 F on a pressurized cooling system. The engine temperature may be read from an instrument panel gauge or from a supplementary test gauge if no instrument panel gauge is provided with the apparatus. In conducting this test, temperature stability will be considered. Where any question exists the test will be continued until temperatures stabilize.
  11. The inspector will check to determine that gauges are provided and visible from the pump operator’s position, but will not check the accuracy of these gauges to determine conformity with Paragraphs 3241 and 3242 of NFPA 19
  12. The inspector will check to determine that the equipment required by Paragraphs 3243, 3244, and 3245 of NFPA 19 is provided.
  13. If a water tank fill line is not installed, he will determine that a bypass line of not less than ⅝ in. diameter, with a manual control valve at the pump operator’s position, is installed between the pump discharge manifold and the water tank. Paragraph 6023 of NFPA 19.

Test conditions

The conditions for the 3hour pumping test are as follows:

  1. Tests are to be conducted while pumping from draft with the water source at least 1 ft below the grade on which the pumper is located. The pumping water source shall be sufficiently clean and free of debris to allow continuous operation during the test interval without cavitation.
  2. The pumping tests shall be made with all accessories, and power consuming appliances (which will normally be connected when pumping the rated pump) connected, as required in Paragraph 3341 of NFPA 19-1965. Stops during tests will be permitted only for changing hose and nozzles. The tests shall be made with suction hose and external and internal strainers in place.
  3. The suction hose used when testing from draft shall be at least 20-ft in a sin”le line sized in accordance with Table 3344 of NFPA 19. The minimum hose diameter will not be limited to that specified in Paragraph 3343, but will be noted on the certification form.
  4. A hose layout from the pumper will not necessarily be required; it is permissible for the manufacturer to make short hose connections from the pumper to a series of valves so as to control the discharge from the pumper.
  5. Discharge hose take-offs from the pumper are to be located on the side opposite the pump operating panel wherever possible. On larger pumpers, where additional take-offs must be from the operating side, hose lines shall be tied in to pumpers with rope hose tools, or equivalent, as a safety measure.
  6. Pump settings for the 150, 200, and 250 psi test conditions shall be established at not less than the rated values of pressure and flow, and not more than 5 percent above the rated values of pressure and flow.

Test equipment

  1. The manufacturer shall provide the following:
    1. Dead weight gauge tester.
    2. Mercury gauges to measure suction conditions.
    3. Valves to restrict suction.
    4. Friction-type speed counter or equal.
    5. Stop watch.
    6. Calibrated nozzles (3 per cent accuracy) and pitot gauge (see page 12 of NBFU Pumper Test Book) or other equivalent flow-measuring equipment.
    7. Discharge pressure gauges (see page 12 of NBFU Pumper Test Book).
    8. Necessary discharge hose.
    9. Hard suction hose of various sizes, unless hose supplied on pumper is used.
    10. Test water supply within 30 min. distance from plant.
    11. Necessary personnel.
    12. Suitable gauge for measuring engine water temperature.
  2. The manufacturer shall be in a position to verify the following:
    1. Barometric pressure.
    2. Ambient temperature.


The cost of the original facility inspection will be $200.00, plus travel expense from Northbrook, Ill., to cover the time and expense of review of facilities by the engineering department. The cost of each certification test will be $70.00 to cover the cost of the inspector’s time and review of test records. Retests will be billed at the same amount.

In view of the amount of work anticipated in conducting tests, manufacturers should arrange to have not more than two pumpers scheduled for simultaneous test. Under such a plan, we anticipate that it will be possible under some circumstances for a single inspector to test four pumpers during a full day of work at a manufacturer’s plant.

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