I spent 30 years in the Fire Service. For most departments, standard operating procedure is to connect to the FDC with the first or second due engine automatically, especially if there is smoke showing. They will set the pump at 150 psi because that is the pressure for the greatest flow rating of the pump.
I work for an FD in Ontario, Canada - I can confirm that if there are apparent fire conditions (smoke showing, for example) the suppression staff will hook up 100% of the time. That is the typical standard operating procedure for most departments in my area, as Danial noted above.
All the time. The SOPs are to at the very least hook up engine to the FDC and if theres no fire then they wont pump. But if theres a confirmed fire or the interior team charges their hoseline then the engine charges the system.
I was a career fire officer for nearly 20 years.
Every single fire. Working fire in a protected building gets FDC is connected every single time.
SOP, Connect to the FDC first.
I am a Deputy Chief who has worked both operations and prevention.
We connect to the FDC on every fire. The first pumper responds to the alarm panel the second Engine responds to the FDC and makes the connection prepares to charge the system.
The answer would be quite different in Europe, with a result very close to 0.
In France, for example, most FD think that a FDC is used to take water from the fire protection system to supply the fire trucks/hoses (not joking…).
Installation of FDC is not required by European standards, so only found at private industrial facilities insured by FM Global or companies using NFPA as the installation standard.
But, as there are more and more, and education is becoming better (so that firefighters do not consider sprinklers as a competitor to stop as soon as they arrive on site), we do hope that one day we will achieve the level of common sense you have in the US.
It is good to see that the answer from the professionals above is unanimously « of course this is the first connection we do with one of the first fire trucks ».
Indeed a good practice.
But you would also be surprised to see that governmental and public buildings have no sprinklers in Europe (including schools, museums, hospitals, retirement homes, hotels… quite scary, isn’t it ?)
Great answer (from a fellow European).
I do sometimes wonder how (in practical terms) pumping in by the FD actually helps for a system will stored water supplies (tank and pumps)?
I can understand the need to prolong a sprinkler system discharge in the event of loss of water supplies, but if the system has a particularly high flow (and pressure demand) would an FD pump be able to deliver what is required?
Working with the fire service entities in my area, their mindset when responding to an incident is to use their equipment first. They feel they know the readiness and condition of their equipment when it comes to putting their life on the line with it so even if the facility has a pump and water storage, they prefer to hook up and take over the supply. Same mindset with in facility hose reels/racks. They will not use them and bring in their own hose packs to connect to required hose connections throughout the facility. FDC has a sign with pressure and flow required for the max delivery of the building system.
Its not used every time the building fire alarm goes off but, as the others have stated, there is a fire engine, in place, ready to hook up to it at almost all type of alarms for the structure. And if there is any fire, an engine pumps until they are ordered to disconnect. even if its just a single head operating, with fire present, its getting pumped.
The reality is the majority of FDCs never get used but, when there is fire, they all get used.
Every. Single. Time. In 15 years in the Fire Service, SOP was second due engine connected to the FDC on every automatic alarm. Charge to 100 psi upon orders of first in unit, or command.
The FDC is there to supply the fire protection system in the event of fire. When the first-due engine arrives and fire is showing, or multiple reports enroute confirms a fire, that apparatus will connect to the FDC EVERY TIME.
( It doesn't exist just for show)
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