A diesel fire pump is a type of purpose-driven fire pump that can be powered by either diesel engines or electric motors. Fire pumps are used to create increased water pressure within a facility in order to meet the requirements of various fire protection systems such as automatic sprinklers, standpipes and foam systems. While fire pumps can be installed in a variety of facilities, they are most often used in high rise buildings or locations where the city water supply line is not sufficient to provide water pressure needed for these types of fire protection systems.
Fire pumps have specific design and installation requirements in order to be considered a safe and reliable source of water during an emergency. They also require that the fire pump room be sprinklered and protected from flooding, explosions and other potential hazards.
In addition to the fire pump room itself, there are several other items that must be in place to ensure that the diesel engine driven fire pump will be able to perform as designed when it is called into action. This includes the fire pump itself, the fuel tank and the piping that runs between these two items.
The first step in ensuring that the diesel fire pump will be able to start up and operate is ensuring that it has been properly sized for its application and complies with the specifications set forth by NFPA 20, UL and FM. This includes ensuring that the air release valve, gauges and packing drip drains are all properly installed, insulated and secured. Similarly, the fire pump engine must be sized properly in order to run when required, and it is critical that the piping for the cooling loop and heat exchanger is sized correctly as well.
All piping between the diesel fuel tank and fire pump must be properly sized in order to withstand the high horsepower load that the engine is required to generate when it is running. Additionally, if louvers are being installed on the fire pump engine and controller they must be sized properly to meet their maximum operating loads as well.
Finally, the fire pump controller must be configured so that it is able to be triggered manually into action when required by putting it in the manual position, by pushing either the battery 1 or battery 2 buttons on the fire pump controller. This will cause the engine and pump to start up and run for 30 minutes as required by NFPA 20. Once the engine has run for 30 minutes it will automatically shut off unless the selector switch is again put into the auto position. The fire department and emergency response team should be familiar with these details in order to ensure that the diesel fire pump is prepared and ready for use when it is required to do so during an actual emergency event. This will greatly increase the chances that the fire pump will be able to perform as it is intended to do so.