Fire Protection FAQ


What is a fire pump?

A fire pump is a kind of pump in a fire protection system that takes water from the water supply in the system and increases the pressure in it in order to meet the hydraulic design requirements of that particular system.

What is active fire protection?

Active fire protection is the component of fire protection in which fires are suppressed by means of motion or action. These measures attempt to eliminate fires and fire hazards as they occur rather than just containing them as is the case through passive fire protection. A sprinkler system or fire extinguisher are active methods of fire protection while fire resistant walls is an example of passive fire protection.

What is a flow test?

A flow test, otherwise known as a water flow test, is a technique used to measure the water supply accessible to a building or structure for the purposes of putting in a water based fire safety system. If the flow is too low a fire pump can be used to boost it.

How do I use a fire extinguisher?

The proper way to use a fire extinguisher is to:

  • Pull out the pin located in the handle.
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire – hitting the upper parts of the flames will be completely ineffective.
  • Squeeze the lever located at the back of the handle in a slow and controlled fashion.
  • Sweep from side to side in order to completely extinguish the entire fire effectively.

What are the different types of fire extinguishers?

There are several different types of fire extinguishers for private use.

The first and most commonly used fire extinguisher is dry chemical. Dry chemical fire extinguishers work by using chemicals to disrupt the fire’s chemical reaction primarily by cutting off the fire’s oxygen from being used as fuel.

Another type is carbon dioxide fire extinguishers. These fire extinguishers work by simultaneously removing the oxygen and the heat with a cold expulsion.

Water and foam fire extinguishers are yet another type of modern fire extinguisher. They work by separating the heat and oxygen from a fire.

Wet chemical fire extinguishers are a much newer type of portable fire extinguisher. They are primarily used to extinguish fires in commercial kitchens which were previously one of the toughest types of fires to extinguish.

Other type of fire extinguishers include clean agent, dry powder, water mist and cartridge operated dry chemical.

What is a backflow preventer?

A backflow preventer is a device that is used to stop the reverse flow of water containing potential contaminants into a water supply. In the fire safety world these are most commonly seen on double check valves.

Are there different types of fire sprinkler systems?

Yes. The different types of sprinkler systems are pre-action, dry pipe, wet pipe, and deluge.

  • Pre-action fire sprinkler systems are full of air and water is permitted to pass through when the smoke alarm or sensor is set off. These can be used so that sprinklers do not automatically go off in the case of a false alarm.
  • Dry pipe fire sprinkler systems are similar to pre-action in that they do not contain water in the pipes. They contain pressurized air with is released in the case of a fire thus allowing the water to flow through the pipes. This can be useful in preventing pipes freezing in the winter.
  • Wet pipe fire sprinklers are the most popular kind of fire sprinkler system. In these fire sprinklers, water is stored inside of the pipes and released when heat activates the sprinkler heads.
  • Deluge sprinklers also contain water in the pipes at all times. The main difference between these sprinklers and wet pipe sprinklers is that these are not activated by heat but rather by a special fire alarm. These are rarely used.

How can I protect my fire sprinklers?

The best way to protect your fire sprinklers is just to make sure you don’t do anything that harms them. This can include painting them, hanging things from them, bumping them etc. Be sure to get your fire protection system inspected occasionally as well.

Can you paint a sprinkler head?

No. You are not legally allowed to paint a sprinkler head. This is because when you do you throw off the temperature sensors thus causing the sprinklers not to function as intended.