The fire pump is one of the most crucial parts of a facility’s fire protection system. It is a high pressure pump that pumps water to protect the building, people and assets from the dangers of fire.
While there are many options for providing a fire pump, diesel engines are commonplace in light-duty applications. Many diesel engines are combined with a fire pump to provide an alternative to traditional electric motor systems in occupancies where reliable normal electrical power is unavailable.
During the testing of a fire pump it is important to ensure that the fire line piping for the diesel engine driven fire pump maintains flow to the engine heat exchanger. The engine heat exchangers on these engines are smaller than those in other diesel applications and require a constant flow of water to cool the engine properly. The lack of water flow will cause the engine to overheat and be damaged.
Another consideration is to make sure that the fuel tank is sized correctly. NFPA 20 requires that the diesel fuel tank is sized to contain a total of one gallon per engine horsepower plus five percent for expansion and five percent for sump. This ensures that the fire pump will have enough fuel to perform its function during a fire.
It is also critical to verify that the fuel tank drain and vent are functioning properly. This prevents the diesel fuel from gelling during long periods of storage or while the fire pump is not in service. Finally, the battery chargers and block heaters located in the fire pump controller should be tested to make sure they are operable. diesel driven fire pump