Fire fighting pumps are one of the many examples of the uses of water pumps in Australia. Fire fighting pumps can be used in rural areas where it may be quicker for a homeowner to put out a fire than to wait for the nearest fire station crew to get to the scene. These pumps are therefore lifesavers and property savers. Because fire fighting pumps may need to be used anywhere within a relatively large swath of land, they need to be portable and easy to carry. For this reason, fire fighting pumps are often petrol water pumps. Petrol water pumps run off of petrol rather than electricity or diesel, the two other kinds of water pumps commonly used. Water will be taken by the pump from a source like a natural body of water or artificial water sources like a tank or pool and transferred to the fire for dousing.
When fire fighting pumps aren’t used in this manner, they are used as part of fire sprinkler system’s water supply. These fire fighting pumps can be diesel, electric or petrol water pumps. The pump’s intake may be connected to the public water supply that’s underground or it can be connected to a static water source like any of the types mentioned above. The pump will provide a flow of water that is of a higher pressure than the sprinkler’s risers and hose standpipes. Fire fighting pumps are usually tested by third party listing agencies to make sure that they are up to standard. This ensures that equipment works properly and the risk of danger is minimised.
Some commercial buildings require having a fire fighting pump powered independently of the electric power grid. This is because a fire or explosion may knock out the power, which would then cut off the sprinkler system. In this case, a petrol water pump may be used, or the pump may be powered by electricity via a listed transfer switch or a backup power generator.
Fire fighting pumps work when the sprinkler system detects a drop in pressure below a set threshold, which happens when the sprinklers detect heat. In other fire sprinkler systems, the fire hose reels or other equipment are opened, which drops the pressure in the main.
Fire fighting pumps are used when the municipal water system cannot give enough pressure for a sprinkler system’s hydraulic requirements. This is common in buildings that are several stories tall or where the indoor volume of space is large, like high rises and warehouses, respectively.
There are many kinds of fire fighting pumps, including horizontal split case, end suction, vertical split case, vertical turbine and vertical inline.