Category Archives: Fire Protection News

The Paradise Fire Sets off Alarm Bells for Peninsula and Carmel Valley Residents | Corona, CA

By Pam Marino – Monterey Country Now

Shortly after the massive destruction and death toll of the Camp Fire in Paradise became known to the world in early November, the phones started ringing in Monterey County Supervisor Mary Adams’ office. Nerves were rattled among people living on the Monterey Peninsula and in Carmel Valley, and they wanted to know what was being done to prevent a similar disaster in their neighborhoods.

For some, the 1987 Morse Fire in Pebble Beach – which consumed about 160 acres and 31 structures, doing $18 million in damage – still resonates. An investigation later blamed lots of dry fuel in the forest during a drought year, winds coming off the ocean and from the east and wood-shingled rooftops covered in pine needles.

That day in May 1987, the weather conditions were just right, says Monterey Fire Chief Gaudenz Panholzer. The Peninsula’s fog and mild weather generally help minimize the risk of wildfires as deadly as the Camp Fire or 2017 Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa, Panholzer adds, “but once in awhile we have dry hot days. Those are the days we all sweat bullets as firefighters.”

Weather is one factor in the spread of wildfires. Another is the accumulation of dry brush, dead wood and nonnative plants, which the area has plenty of, Panholzer says. It’s what has residents worried, as one Carmel resident who lives along Pescadero Canyon told the Carmel City Council in January. With homes lining one side of the forested canyon across from Pebble Beach, he said, “We have the most to lose.”

“We need to manage the forest as a healthy forest,” Panholzer says. That means thinning, and sometimes leaving dead tree trunks behind to foster a healthy ecosystem among birds and bugs. He believes Peninsula cities in wooded areas like Carmel and Pacific Grove – which contract with Monterey FD for fire services – and Monterey are doing a good job of clearing their forested areas.

Carmel is looking at renting goats in the coming year to eat up dry grass and overgrown shrubs, as has been done in Pebble Beach, says City Administrator Chip Rerig. They cost between $1,500 and $2,000 an acre, for a minimum of five acres. Goats can reach steep areas humans can’t, plus they eat poison oak.

Fostering relationships among local emergency agencies has “stepped up,” Panholzer says, including with Cal Fire, Monterey Regional Fire Protection District and others. Representatives from a number of agencies met Jan. 24 to brainstorm evacuation plans. Adams hosts a meeting for the public to ask questions of fire officials from 6-8pm on Jan. 31 at Palo Corona Regional Park.

Ultimately, however, Panholzer says residents who live in wooded areas have to be prepared for the possibility, and have plans in place for evacuating with pets, photos and important documents.


Local Cal Fire Firefighter Embarks on Cross Country Bike Ride to Honor Fallen Colleague | Corona, CA

By Maria Arcega-Dunn

San Diego – A local Cal Fire firefighter embarked on a cross country bike ride to honor his friend – Escondido resident and Cal Fire firefighter Cory Iverson who died battling the Thomas Fire in 2017.

Cal Fire firefighter and engineer Thomas Pittman left early this morning from Imperial Beach for his “Ride into The Light” fundraiser. He plans to ride all the way to Jacksonville, Florida in an effort to raise money for a foundation benefiting the mental health of first responders created in his friend’s name.

Just after 630 this morning in Imperial Beach, Escondido resident and Cal Fire firefighter Thomas Pitman prepared for a cross country bike ride. The 2500-mile journey from San Diego all the way to Jacksonville, Florida will raise funds for a foundation created in honor of his friend and colleague Cory Iverson, who died in while fighting the 2017 Thomas Fire in Ventura County.

“It’s pretty amazing, the stuff I’ve seen over the past year in terms of honoring him have been mind-blowing, and this one takes the cake I think,” said wife of fallen firefighter Ashley Iverson.

She says the ride will help to raise money for the Iverson Foundation for Active Awareness which provides programs to help reduce suicide, PTSD and other mental and emotional stressors unique to first responders.

“The things that they see and do on a daily basis these are things that you and i don’t even want to imagine,” said Iverson.

Pitman’s goal is $2,426, one dollar for every mile he rides.  Money Iverson’s wife says will keep her husband’s name alive and help so many others.

“Thomas, even though he doesn’t know it right now, he’s helping a lot of people in doing this and that’s what gets me through,” said Iverson. “I underestimated what it would be at the year mark. It’s been quite a challenge for the last couple of months. But things like this give me hope.”

The ride is self-supported meaning Pitman won’t have anyone helping him along the way. He is expected to complete the ride on January 31.

Donations can be made to the “Ride into The Light” on the foundation’s website

For more information about fire suppression systems, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Fire Prevention vs. Fire Protection: What’s the Difference?

For any property owner, the prospect of fire is a constant concern. Protection from fire damage must be top-of-mind when it comes to safety concerns; not only is there the potential for your business to be irredeemably damaged, there is the chance that life and limb may be harmed too.

The bottom line is that not all fires can be prevented. However – there are some things you can do to prevent and protect your business from fire.

Let’s take a step back right away and look at those last two words: prevent and protect. What’s the difference between the two? What is fire protection, and what is fire prevention? Here, we’ll break down these two different methods – both integral to maintaining your property and your business.

What is Fire Prevention?

Fire prevention is absolutely essential for your business. This process happens before a potential fire can ignite – it’s all about stopping that fire from ever happening. One of the most effective tools for fire prevention is an inspection; regular property inspections can be used to identify vulnerable areas in your facility, and fix them once they have been identified. Those vulnerable areas can include overloaded electrical outlets, improperly maintained or broken systems, and improperly stored materials.

As soon as those problems are identified, it’s vital that the property owner takes the steps to remove these threats – and ensure they don’t ever get to that point again. Using regular inspections helps prevent fires in the business.

What is Fire Protection?

Fire protection is the second element to the process. Fire protection includes a combination of different fire safety equipment and procedures used to defend your property line from fire. The exact specifications of this method will differ from company to company, but there are general elements that should be found in about every commercial facility. These will include equipment like fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and sprinkler systems. Combined, these fire protection services work together to ensure your property is constantly protected from fire; together, they work to provide the commercial space with the ultimate safety net against this potentially destructive force.

Again, inspection of your fire protection service or fire protection services is key. Fire sprinkler inspections should be performed regularly (a 5 year fire sprinkler inspection is vital) and if new elements are needed, fire sprinkler installations are a must.

Whether you are looking for a way to prevent fires or protect your property, CJ Suppression is here to help. For more information on protecting your investment, call CJ Suppression today!

The Difference Between Fire Prevention and Fire Protection with CJ Suppression

At CJ Suppression – at the top of the area’s most experienced fire protection companies and fire sprinkler installation companies – we offer an array of portable fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems to keep commercial kitchens safe. CJ Suppression offers the highest quality alarm systems to keep your business safe from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. We also offer fire suppression systems as well to help keep commercial fires controlled should they break out. Our trained technicians will work with you to determine which air sampling smoke detection system is best for your business. We will also help install and maintain the system for your commercial building.

Let us know how we can help you!

Safety Harbor Fire Chief Honored With Industry Award

Chief Josh Stefancic Honored With the American Fire Sprinkler Association’s “Fire Sprinklers Save Lives” Award

Safety Harbor Fire Chief Josh Stefancic has been honored with one of the fire prevention/suppression industry’s most prestigious awards.

Chief Stefancic was recently recognized a with the American Fire Sprinkler Association’s (AFSA) Fire Sprinklers Save Lives award. AFSA Florida Chapter Chairman Chris Johnson, CEO of Piper Fire Protection in Clearwater, Florida, and member of AFSA’s Public Education & Awareness Committee presented the award to Stefancic.

“I am so proud that one of our hometown heroes has been recognized for this award,” Johnson said. “Chief Stefancic is passionate about fire sprinklers and life safety. We are blessed to have him serving in our community and our state.”

Chief Stefancic has helped thousands of firefighters understand the importance – and effectiveness – of fire sprinkler technology and fire protection services through his involvement on the executive board of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA). As part of his role with the IFSTA, Stefancic has helped to author and review several training manuals, including “Fire Detection and Suppression Systems,” a guide educating firefighters on the types, arrangements and operating principles of sprinkler systems. The guide serves as a valuable resource for emergency personnel responding to incidents in protected premises.

Additionally, as a committee member of NFPA 1700, “Guide to Structural Firefighting,” Stefancic has worked to educate his firefighting peers about the benefits of fire sprinkler inspections, fire protection service, and fire sprinkler installations.

Chief Stefancic came to Safety Harbor after a long career with Fire Rescue of Largo, Florida, most recently serving as division chief. He started with Largo in August 2010 as assistant chief of life safety, moving up to assistant chief of emergency management in 2011 and district chief in May of 2012; he was named fire chief of the Safety Harbor Fire Department in June of 2018.

He has a master’s degree in fire and emergency management administration and a bachelor’s degree in fire protection and safety technology from Oklahoma State University. Chief Stefancic is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer program from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Chief Stefancic’s former post also offered their congratulations via their Facebook page.

“Chief Stefancic joins a distinguished list of fire marshals, building officials, and television personalities who have embraced this technology and have become advocates for fire safety,” Largo Fire Rescue wrote in a post. “He has helped thousands of firefighters understand the effectiveness of fire sprinkler technology, through his involvement on the executive board of the International Fire Service Training Association. There he has helped author and reviews several training manuals written to educate firefighters on the basics of fire sprinklers. We congratulate Chief Stefancic on this well-deserved award.”

For more information about fire sprinkler inspections, fire protection services, a 5 year fire sprinkler inspection or other services fire sprinkler installation and fire sprinkler inspection companies can provide, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona, CA and all surrounding areas.

Dozens of Massachusetts Homes Exploded. A Gas Expert Weighs In. | Corona, CA


SEP 14, 2018


Investigators still don’t know what happened, but there’s one likely explanation.

Late Thursday, dozens of explosions erupted in three towns in northern Massachusetts. As many as 70 fires, explosions, and suspected gas leaks were reported to state police, with at least 39 homes affected in Lawrence, Andover, and North Andover. One person was killed when a chimney collapsed on his car, and at least 25 more people were reportedly treated for injuries.

In a statement, Columbia Gas said a total of 8,600 customers will be without service until safety teams can ensure that their homes and businesses are leak-free.

A widespread series of explosions like the one in Massachusetts is “really rare,” says Robert Jackson, a professor of energy and environmental science at Stanford University. Jackson’s studies focus on the environmental impacts of natural gas, and he has mapped thousands of gas leaks in cities around the country, including Boston. He told me that such an event is “unprecedented in recent years,” since explosions are usually isolated to a single building.

Jackson is not involved in investigating the Massachusetts explosions, but he was able to offer some insight into what could have caused such a strange, dramatic incident. The most likely explanation, he says, is the one most reports have speculated: Pipelines in the towns became suddenly over-pressurized. In the same way that high-voltage power lines traverse hundreds of miles before breaking off into lower-voltage tributaries in neighborhoods, natural-gas delivery systems consist of both long-distance, high-pressure pipelines and local ones that are only nominally pressurized and deliver gas into homes. Neighborhood pipelines are usually designed to withstand two to three times their normal operating pressure, but any increase makes gas more likely to escape.

“I can’t imagine another explanation for this event than a flush of pressurized gas,” Jackson says.

If local lines indeed were suddenly inundated with high-pressure gas, Jackson says, that could result in an explosion in one of two ways. First, the pipes themselves could explode. Second—and more likely, according to Jackson—excess pressure could have caused gas to leak out of pipes and valves and into homes, where it could be ignited by a pilot light and send whole buildings up in flames.

In most cases, according to Jackson, such rapid pressurization would be caused by a failure at a valve that separates high- and low-pressure pipelines. As for what would lead to such a failure, Jackson says, it could be that “somebody made a mistake. To flip the wrong valve, leave a junction open. Human error is the most common source of natural-gas explosions.”

Columbia Gas’s website announced an improvement campaign just a few hours before the explosions began, though no evidence has yet linked the explosions to pipeline updates or botched repairs. (A spokesperson for Columbia Gas did not respond to a request for comment.)

A flush of gas could also occur if older valves leak or break. In 2015, Jackson and his colleagues found that cities like Cincinnati that replaced their aging pipelines had 90 percent fewer gas leaks a mile than older cities like Boston that relied on older, cast-iron pipes. Across the country, Jackson says, many local pipelines are more than a century old—including in Boston, the closest major city his team studied to Thursday’s explosions.

Even though natural-gas leaks are fairly common, serious consequences aren’t. From 1998 to 2017, 15 people a year, on average, died in incidents related to gas distribution in the U.S. “Significant incidents”—those that do things such as cause an injury or death, result in at least $50,000 of damage, or lead to a fire or explosion—happen about 286 times a year.

That might sound like a lot. But then again, the streets of Boston carry an average of four gas leaks a mile.


2017 Class of AFSA Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Society

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) Fire Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Societyn was established in 2012 to recognize trainees, and their sponsoring employers, who have completed all four levels of the AFSA Correspondence Course for Fire Sprinkler Fitters with a cumulative grade point average of 95% or above. Inductees into the 2017 class represent approximately the top nine percent of the 172 four-level graduates for the year.

AFSA Director of Education Services Leslie Clounts gave her congratulations to the class and the companies that employed them, stating: “Congratulations are due to these accomplished companies whose dedication to training excellence is proven in these elite apprentices. I applaud each individual who made the effort ensuring these National Honor Society students not only succeed but excel in their training endeavors.”

Recognition plaques were provided to the sponsoring employers so that they can present the plaque to their fire sprinkler fitter graduate.

The following companies are the employers of the 2017 Fire Sprinkler Fitter National Honor Society inductees:

  • Aero Automatic Sprinkler, Phoenix, AZ (three inductees)
  • AFPG, Inc., Jackson, TN
  • Allied Fire Protection, Pearland, TX
  • Colby Fire Protection, Rochdale, MA
  • Fire Tech Services, Inc., Chesapeake, VA
  • Front-Line Fire Protection, LLC, North Andover, NH
  • Johnson Controls, South Bend, IN
  • Johnson Controls, Williamsville, NY
  • L&L Fire Protection, Torrington, CT
  • Meridian Fire Protection, Salem, NH
  • Metropolitan Fire Protection, Broomall, PA
  • Phoenix Fire Protection, Idaho Falls, ID (two inductees)
  • Platinum Fire Protection & Services, Marlborough, MA (two inductees)
  • Tri-State Fire Protection, Smithfield, RI
  • Western Automatic Sprinkler, Salt Lake City, UTAFSA


Prepare for Anything: Evacuation Edition | Corona, CA

It seems everywhere we look, there is a wildfire threatening some part of California. Not only is it sweeping through forests and other wildlife, but residential areas are becoming affected, leaving many family’s without shelter due to evacuation. Being prepared for evacuation is not only going to make you feel better but will also help keep your family calm during these stressful times. Here is a checklist of things you should keep in mind during these summer dangers:

Inside the House

  • Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
  • Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.
  • Remove lightweight curtains.
  • Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
  • Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.
  • Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
  • Shut off the air conditioning.


  • Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.
  • Turn off propane tanks and move BBQ away from structures.
  • Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.
  • Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.
  • Put your emergency supply kit in your vehicle.
  • Have a ladder available for firefighters to quickly access your roof.
  • Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.


  • Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
  • Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early.

For more information about evacuation tips, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at

CJ Suppression proudly serves Corona and all surrounding areas.

Corona’s Canyon Fires: The Aftermath | Corona, CA

By Rob McMillan / Friday, March 23, 2018

CORONA, Calif. (KABC) — As the bulk of a rain-heavy storm moved out of the Inland Empire, mandatory evacuation orders in parts of Corona were lifted Thursday.

The evacuation orders were issued Wednesday afternoon for neighborhoods that were affected by the Canyon Fire, which charred about 2,600 acres between Anaheim Hills and Corona.

The brush fire started in September and threatened mostly homes in the Corona area before fire officials finally gained control of it.

Many burn areas across Southern California were under threat of possible mudslides or debris flows and flooding as a strong storm moved into the region. The heaviest rainfall was expected Thursday morning into early afternoon and then it would clear in some areas.

Light and scattered showers were expected throughout the evening and into Friday morning, but a threat of storm damage would no longer be an issue.

For more information about fire safety, call CJ Suppression at 888-821-2334 or visit the website at

Accepting patients from Chino, Ontario, Redlands, Moreno Valley, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, Rialto, Fontana and all surrounding areas.

Station Fire and Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

To remember those who lost their lives and honor those who survived the devastating Station Fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a memorial service was held on February 20th, exactly fifteen years after the event. Among attendees at the service, the National Fire Sprinkler Association was present to share information about new legislation that can potentially prevent similar fires from occurring in the future.

The legislature in question, the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act, recently received several critical provisions that will provide significant tax incentives for property owners to install fire sprinklers. Under Section 179, small businesses will be able to fully expense fire sprinklers, up to a cap of $1 million in each year of expense. This allows for retrofitting and upgrading of numerous properties. Furthermore, any small business that needs to borrow money to pay for the retrofitting will be able to fully deduct the interest expense on the loan.

Fire services and other advocates can now promote fire sprinklers and overall improvements to fire protection systems in existing small businesses with the financial support from these provisions. The installation or upgrading of fire protection systems can prevent loss of life, injuries, emotional distress, bankruptcy, and even imprisonment, all of which occurred as a result of the Station Fire.

Conducting Flow Tests

Hydrant Flow Tests

Hydrant flow tests are important to determine the flow rate and pressure in any location throughout a water distribution system. To ensure that fire hydrants are capable of providing water at an acceptable pressure and flow rate for public health and firefighting operations, hydrants must be tested regularly.

Hydrant flow tests are conducted to provide information to design a water-based suppression system and to determine if the water supply will meet firefighting requirements.

To minimize time and monetary cost, it is important to ensure that flow tests are conducted properly to reduce the chances of having to conduct multiple tests. For example, if tests conducted incorrectly may determine that a fire pump is not necessary when it actually is, and end up wasting time and money while harming reputations. To avoid this, it is best to complete hydrant flow tests as correctly as possible.

Introduction to the NFPA 291

Fire hydrant flow tests can vary greatly across the industry and the nation. To ensure that flow tests are correctly performed, we recommend following the recommended practice detailed by the The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in NFPA 291, Recommended Practice for Fire Flow Testing and Marking of Hydrants.

Notes About the NFPA 291

Current editions of NFPA 291 recommend group testing, where you flow more than one hydrant. Although this may be problematic and not entirely necessary, using one hydrant for static and residual pressures while using a different hydrant for flow is the best practice.

Chapter 4 of NFPA 291, 2016 edition, recommends having a static, or test, hydrant and one or more residual, or flow, hydrants. To determine how many flow hydrants are required, it is recommended to flow enough water to provide at least a 25% drop in residual pressure when compared to the static pressure.

It is generally accepted that a 25% drop is not required to design a fire suppression system. Since the hydrant flow tests are also used to determine whether the water supply meets firefighting requirements, it is best practice to flow a similar amount of water as the most demanding flow, regardless of pressure. It is impractical in some jurisdictions to get a 25% drop in pressure, even when required fire flows are easily achievable. Ultimately, the results of the flow test should provide enough information to accurately plot the static and residual points on a water supply graph to demonstrate water demand against water supply.

It may be best to show the water supply curve at 20 psi because the International Fire Code Appendix B and the NFPA 1 have required fire flows at 20 psi.

Choosing a Hydrant to Test

When choosing which hydrants to test, it is important to consider traffic issues and any potential damage to the area surrounding the flow hydrant due to the water flow. After determining which hydrants will be used for the flow test, a time should be selected when there is “ordinary” water demand. For residential areas, this time might be between 6:00-9:00am and 4:00-8:00pm, when most people are at home using water. For industrial areas, this time might be between 7:00am and 6:00pm, as this is when most facilities will be operating.

It is better to use 2 ½ inch hydrant outlets as opposed to the pumper outlets, which is anything larger than the 2 ½ outlet, because the 2 ½ inch outlets are completely filled across the entire cross section of the outlet. On the other hand, pumper outlets will have voids, which can result in inaccurate pressure readings. If using the 2 ½ inch outlets is impractical or if they cannot produce the necessary flow, the pumper outlets can be used, but the resulting flow should be modified to account for the voids in the water flow.

How to Conduct the Flow Test with a Pitot Tube

Ideal Pressure Readings

When conducting the test, it is important to completely open all hydrants to reduce the potential for damage to the hydrant and preserve the accuracy of the test. For the greatest accuracy when conducting a reading using a handheld pitot tube, NFPA 291 recommends keeping the pitot tube pressure readings between 10 and 30 psi at full flow, or when the hydrant is completely open.

This is due to the problems that arise when pressure is outside of that range. If pressures are below 10 psi, the flow is not enough to completely fill the cross section of the open outlet and can result in inaccurate readings. If the pressure rises above 30 psi, it can be difficult to align and maintain the position of the pitot tube for long enough to take an accurate reading. Furthermore, pressures above 30 psi may bend or break pitot tube blades.

That being said, the 10 to 30 psi range is a recommendation. If it is impractical to open multiple hydrants at once, it is best to keep pressures as close to 30 psi as possible while opening as many hydrants at full flow as feasible.

Angling the Pitot Tube

When using a handheld pitot tube, make sure to hold the blade perpendicular (at a right angle, or 90 degrees) to the outlet, so that the orifice of the pitot tube blade is approximately half the distance downstream of the outlet (1 ¼ inches for a 2 ½ inch outlet) and in the center of the flow for the most accurate reading.

Other Considerations

If multiple outlets and hydrants are used to achieve the desired flow, a single pitot reading at each hydrant can be taken and these values added together to determine the total flow at the residual pressure.

Conducting Flow Tests Without Pitot Tubes

As there are multiple products on the market that make finding flow pressure easier and more accurate, handheld pitot tubes are used less often. If you are utilizing one of these products, make sure to verify the flows at different pressure readings, as manufacturers may have different methods of determining the flow for products that are not covered in NFPA 291. These other products also have recommended pressure-operating ranges, so it is important to check all information before conducting a flow test.

The NFPA 291 does have an option for getting flow reading without a pitot tube or other flow pressure reading device in Section 4.9. This section states that a hydrant cap can be used on one 2 ½ inch outlet while opening and flowing the other 2 ½ inch outlet, because the reading should be approximately the same. However, this should not be considered an equivalent option in place of a pitot tube and is only to be done if a pitot tube or other flow pressure reading device is unavailable.

Gauge Accuracy

When conducting a hydrant flow test, it is best to have a selection of gauges with various pressure reading ranges, as gauges tend to be more accurate in the middle of their calibrated range. Furthermore, the range should match the flow that is being measured, as a gauge with a maximum pressure of 200 psi may have difficulty accurately reflecting a pressure between 10 and 30 psi. Conversely, a gauge with a range between 10 and 30 psi would not be able to measure a pressure that was much higher than 30 psi.

Gauge accuracy is also a percentage of the maximum reading of the gauge, so a greater range is not always better. If there is a selection of gauges to choose from, then they can be changed to keep the reading within the optimal range.

Although air-filled pressure gauges are usable, it is recommended to use digital or liquid-filled analog gauges, which can reduce the vibrations in the needle and make the reading easier to read.

To obtain the most accurate reading from residual and flow gauges, it is best to let the hydrant flow for a little while to stabilize the flow before taking a reading. Once the flow is stable, note the high and low readings of the pressure range on the gauges to determine an average. The average residual and flow pressures are the values that should be used as results, as opposed to using the minimum or maximum value obtained.

Opening and Closing Hydrants

It is important to properly open and close hydrants before and after conducting flow tests. It is particularly important when conducting a flow test with a dry barrel hydrant or in areas subject to freezing.

If a dry barrel hydrant is not completely opened, it can flow an excessive amount of water out of the weep hole and cause soil erosion around the hydrant base. Erosion over time can cause the hydrant to sink and may potentially damage the underground piping.

Furthermore, if a dry hydrant is not properly closed, water can be trapped in the barrel or cause water to continually flow from the weep hole. Water trapped within the dry barrel in areas subject to freezing can cause internal damage to the hydrant.

Proper Procedure to Open and Close Hydrants

To ensure that hydrants are properly opened and closed, follow these procedures when opening and closing the hydrant. When opening the hydrant, count the number of complete turns to verify that are made until the operating nut can no longer turn, then turn it back a quarter of a turn. When closing the hydrant, count the number of complete turns to verify that it was the same number of turns as used to open the hydrant. Once again, the hydrant should be backed off a quarter of a turn.

Before reinstalling the final hydrant cap, verify that the water has been completely drained out of the dry barrel by feeling for negative pressure at the outlet. To do so, place a hand over the open 2 ½ inch hydrant outlet for a few seconds to feel for suction. The first few times, there will be an audible pressure release when the hand is removed. Continue to do this until there is no more suction. Then, the caps may be safely replaced.

Other Considerations

Some other factors to take into account that can greatly affect your test results are whether there are any booster pumps on the water supply, whether there are water storage tanks, and the elevation of the hydrants. These effects have a higher residual pressure than static pressure, but not all water supplies have a linear relationship of flow to pressure.

These measures are important because for some water supplies, when the flow demand increases, additional water can be provided to an area through multiple pumps or valves, causing complex geometries to the pressure and flow relationship at any given point in the system. Although there is no current guidance in the NFPA 291 about this effect, it may eventually be added.

Note: Because NFPA 291 is a recommended practice, all recommendations do not have to be met exactly unless the local jurisdiction has specifically adopted NFPA 291.