Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Fire Pump Field Data Collection and Analysis"
Author: Gayle Pennel, Aon Risk Solutions
Date of issue: January 2012
Fire pumps are relatively complex electro‐mechanical devices that perform a vital emergency function on an infrequent basis. They are an integral and essential component of built‐in fire protection systems, and to assure reliability they are tested periodically. However, the type and frequency of these tests is the subject of on‐going debate that extends to the earliest days of the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Pumps established in 1899.
Presently the testing of fire pumps generates field data that’s independently available to users, installers, insurers, servicing organizations, and others. This data is not, however, being collected in a standardized manner and it is not subject to statistical analysis to substantiate any particular testing protocol. A collective set of standardized data would provide a scientific basis to support periodic testing requirements, which are currently a focal point of controversy in the codes and standards process.
This study seeks to provide credible and statistically valid fire pump performance data that substantiates testing frequencies and protocols. The tasks of this project are being addressed in two parts: Part I focuses on clarifying the landscape of existing field data and establishing a sampling component for subsequent project tasks; and Part II establishes a framework and clarifies the details on how this data will ultimately be handled and used in a credible manner. The deliverables in this report address both parts of this overall project.