When it comes to providing the safest possible environment in any type of building or facility, ensuring that all safety measures are in place and are correctly maintained should be at the top of the list.
For use in an emergency situation, fire department connections (FDCs) are utilized to allow fire departments to quickly and easily find the connection and hook up to the system. In the United States, these fire department connections are positioned according to the National Fire Protection Association standards for the specific property or building. This, in turn, is based on the International Fire Code.
The International Fire Code and the NFPA standards state that the fire department connections cannot obstruct access to the building or operation of other types of fire prevention or suppression apparatus. They also have to be located in a place that is easy to access, and that is in close proximity to fire hydrants.
In addition, the fire department connections should be maintained so that they not only operate in an emergency situation but that they are easy to find and to connect. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to do this, resulting in valuable time wasted by the fire department when every second counts in limiting the potential damage of a fire.
As most fire department connections are located on the periphery and the street-side of a business, it is possible that landscaping can become a potential obstruction. Shrubs, bushes and even ornamental grass or trees that are placed in front of or in close proximity to the fire department connections can quickly grow up and obscure or block access to the FDC.
This does not mean a business should not have landscaping. Simple keeping the area around the FDC free from any overgrown vegetation throughout the year is a job for the landscaping service.
The curbs in front of the area where the fire department connections are located should be marked with both signs as well as with the standard yellow curb, and the required painting for fire lanes is also important.
As a business, ensuring vehicles parked in the fire lane or in front of the fire department connections are ticketed is also a way of training the public, and your employees, to avoid parking in these locations.
Check the Caps
Missing caps on fire department connections can cause problems if garbage is pushed into the space or if rodents or birds nest or store food in these areas. Even small objects that do not belong in the FDCs can create problems if they are pulled into the pump system and end up damaging or jamming the impellers in a pump.
Taking the time to find all fire department connections on the property and make sure they are free from obstructions is an ideal way to help your local fire department and protect your property.