What could cause a fire pump to fail?

February 3, 2023

by Nils Deacon, Manager, Inspections and Rating Services

A fire pump supplies additional water pressure and volume to a sprinkler system. Insufficient pressure or no discharge from the pump are critical issues. Even seconds of delay in fire sprinkler response could compromise property and life safety. Ideally, a sprinkler system is seldom activated, so attention to wear and tear of the fire pump, performance tests, and maintenance are vital.

As with any other type of machinery, components of a fire pump will deteriorate with or without use. As joints and connections wear, related parts settle, causing misalignment of couplings. Chapter 8 of NPFA 15, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, calls for couplings to be greased annually to minimize wear, and adjusted, repaired, rebuilt, or replaced in accordance with an alignment inspection as part of Annual Flow Testing.

The Standard indicates testing must be done by “qualified personnel.” This may require the service of a fire protection company.

DISCLAIMER: This information reflects the interpretation of MSO, Inc. with regard to NFPA Standards and Codes. It does not represent NFPA’s official position on the items discussed.

Fire pump under repair.