For example, buildings with fire pumps have what’s known as a fire pump test connection, or test header as it’s called in the industry, which is located outside, and enables flow tests to verify fire pump operation potential. It looks similar to an FDC except that it has male-threaded hose connections. Any crew that attempts to connect the male end of a fire hose would be stymied.
Traditionally, the industry has considered the standard FDC to have two 2 ½ inch female swivel connections, known as the Siamese connection. Fire department connections, however, can range from one to eight female connections.
As previously mentioned, FDCs contain clappers within their inlets. A two-way FDC comes with either single or double clappers. What’s the difference? Double clappers are more expensive and often sought for larger systems. They are the most durable for handling several flows of water, and their design provides a safeguard against bursting hose lines. Single clappers are cheaper because they use less material, which reduces manufacturing costs.
A clapper’s ability to channel and direct water does several things. First, it prevents water from flowing back out of the FDC; this allows you to connect and disconnect more than one hose to an FDC without leakage. Second, if one of those servicing hoses were to burst, the flow of water never becomes interrupted because the clapper would automatically cover the unused inlet via water pressure. Regardless of the number of clappers, the count of which rises in line with the number of inlets, they all open and allow incoming water to flow through standpipe systems. They swing freely and keep closed any remaining unused inlets, to prevent backflow from occurring.
Standpipe versus Sprinkler Systems
FDCs are a key component for charging standpipe systems. These systems are designed to provide water to servicing hoses in strategically placed locations inside a building or structure. They are most common in large buildings, where areas of the facility are too far from an outside entrance, and multistory buildings to prevent long lengths of hose in stairwells and on the ground. Dry standpipe systems require external charging from outside sources of water. An FDC connection, located at the ground level, is the liaison that connects the building’s system to the fire engine, which connects to a nearby fire hydrant. The water then reaches a standpipe riser that distributes it throughout and to the top floors of a building.
Sprinkler systems are equally dependent on FDCs. Even though they may already contain water (unless a dry sprinkler system), supplemental water can be crucial during certain emergencies. This is where signage becomes quite important. A first responder arriving on scene needs to know, quickly, which connection is the right one. FDCs for both sprinkler systems and standpipe systems look similar, and at times can be located within feet of one another.
Browsing for an FDC?
Before replacng an FDC, you want to check several things, including the number of female inlets and clappers, thread type, as well as whether or not to order breakable caps or FDC plugs. If you’re replacing an FDC, the easiest way to do this is to purchase the same model. If purchasing a new FDC, follow NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose System, along with your current system specifications to determine the correct model. For example, some standpipes require 90 degree FDCs in place of the traditional – you’re going to want to know this difference!
Once you have chosen the correct model, it is time to decide the finish – cast brass or polished chrome? Both options are equally durable and can withstand weathering for extended periods of time. What about breakable caps or plugs? Your new FDC needs to be protected; FDC plugs commonly come standard for their added durability and prevent foreign material from clogging hose connections. However, for firefighter convenience breakable caps can be purchased. These caps, instead of fastening into the FDC swivel like plugs, latch onto the lugs using eyehooks. For more information on the differences between breakable caps and plugs read FDC Caps or Plugs: What are my Options?
QRFS.com is proud to offer FDCs of all kinds. A thorough search through our inventory is recommended, it can be easy to get lost in all our options! Keep in mind that some models come standard with FDC plugs. For the FDCs that don’t, simply jump over to our plugs and caps section. To fulfill minimum signage requirements, determine if the purchased FDC comes with a titled escutcheon, if it doesn’t check our inventory of signs. Visit us today, and be on your way to a complete fire protection program.