Backflow prevention? Standby fees? Multipurpose system? Water conservation? These are some of the questions that local fire department educators and officials are beginning to face from local water officials and suppliers now that home fire sprinkler systems are catching on in communities across North America.
Often, the concept of installing sprinklers to protect one- and two-family houses (NFPA 13D) is new to water suppliers, even if they are familiar with fire sprinkler protection for commercial and multi-family residential structures (NFPA 13 and 13R).
That lack of knowledge about NFPA 13D systems can result in costly fees and add-ons for homeowners, whether the systems are voluntarily installed or part of a local ordinance. HFSC has tracked cases across the country where water purveyors levied hefty tap fees because they didn’t realize that fire sprinklers actually use less water to fight a fire than a fire department does with high-pressure hoses.
To tackle this awareness problem, HFSC began working to educate the American Water Works Association (AWWA) several years ago. AWWA has more than 57,000 members, making it the largest organization of water supply professionals in the world. It represents more than 4,700 water utilities supplying 180 million people in North America. Most likely, your local water official is a member of AWWA.
HFSC began presenting and exhibiting at AWWA’s annual meetings in 2006. The response has been favorable. And recently, AWWA Research Foundation published a report concluding:
“Water-efficient fire suppression technologies exist that use less water than conventional standards. In particular, the universal application of automatic sprinkler systems provides the most proven method for reducing loss of life and property due to fire, while at the same time providing faster response to the fire and requiring significantly less water than conventional fire-fighting techniques. It is recommended that the universal application of automatic fire sprinklers be adopted by local jurisdictions.” AWWA has published a residential sprinkler policy statement on the organization’s Web site.
This is great progress. But HFSC has heard from fire departments that they need a handy tool they can share with their local water purveyors, who may not follow AWWA news.
In response to this grassroots need, HFSC has developed a new educational brochure designed specifically to inform water suppliers about NFPA 13D systems and to help answer common water supply questions. It covers the basics of water usage, metering, hydraulics usage, and numerous other technical aspects of residential fire sprinkler systems that pertain to water supply.
The new "Guide for Water Purveyors" brochure is available for free download as a pdf and fire departments may request small quantities of printed brochures.
Another helpful tool to use in water supplier
and other local official education is HFSC’s
NFPA 13D overview.