NFPA 291: Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and Marking of Hydrant
On June 18, 2020 we will be given the opportunity to present our proposed modifications to NFPA 291, modifications we believe will provide clear guidance for the flow testing of hydrants and give fire protection professionals another method of keeping their constituents safe. The current method of testing hydrants described in NFPA 291 is the Main Capacity Flow Test, while an excellent means of determining the water supply available in the underground main, it does not necessarily confirm the proper functioning or flow rates of the hydrants used in the test. Ask any firefighter if they’ve ever arrived at a fire and hooked up to a hydrant only to discover it does not work and you will surely hear a personal experience, often involving unnecessary loss and damages. Our proposal suggests adding the use of the Hydrant Capacity Fire Flow Test, a method for testing the water available to fight a fire at the hydrant nozzle where the fire department will connect in the event of a fire. The Main Capacity Flow Test would remain the tried and true method of determining water availability when designing water-based fire protection systems; however, we’d like to see language added that will help ensure that when our firefighters arrive on the scene of a fire they can be confident that the nearest hydrant functions properly at the required flow rate. For more information on our proposal and the two methods of flow testing please download the linked presentation below.