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Fire Pump Maintenance

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Why is maintenance so important in the Fire Pump Industry?

FTI has many relationships with Emergency Power Maintenance Companies across the US and have heard of the horror stories relating to Fire Pump maintenance. There are countless stories of plugged filters and faulty injectors, only to be brushed off as "maintenance". To us, this is clearly letting you know your fuel is the issue. If your injectors decide to fail during an emergency, there could be unneeded lawsuits, damage, injuries, or death.

Fire Pump fabrication
Fire Pump Skid

NFPA Standards

Currently the NFPA 20 & 25 do not specifically say an "Automated Fuel Maintenance System" is required... but it does say;

"NFPA 20 -11.6.4.2 - The tanks shall always be filled by means that will ensure removal of all water and foreign materials"

"NFPA 25 - 5.5.2 - The preventative maintenance program shall be initiated immediate after the pump assembly has passed acceptance tests.


NFPA does mention that automated systems are acceptable per;

"NFPA 20 - A11.6.4 - Active systems that are permanently added to fuel tanks for removing water and particulates from the fuel can be acceptable, provided the following apply: 1. All connections are made directly to the tank and are not interconnected with the engine or its fuel supply and return piping in any way. 2. There are no valve or other devices added to the engine or its fuel supply and return piping in any way.


NFPA 25 - 5-5.1 Summary of Fire Pump Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance.

D. Diesel Engine System 1. Fuel (e) Water and foreign material in tank - Clean Annually

D. Diesel Engine System 1. Fuel (f) Water in system - Check / Clean Weekly


So, what is the issue?

Well, as a loose description in the NFPA standards, maintenance is up to the client running the facility after installation but can lead to neglect based on misinformation. As all industries evolve, so does the technology and know-how to maintain all the equipment. If the facility manager isn't aware of the dangers involved in dirty fuel, and how to maintain it properly, it will lead to catastrophic failures. We saw this as an opportunity to provide a solution to better the Fire Pump Industry by protecting fuel from water, microbial growth, particulates and degradation.


What should be done?

Through a joint effort of FTI designing / manufacturing and Factory Mutal "FM" testing and approval, there is an "FM APPROVED" automated stored diesel fuel maintenance system available to assist in mitigating water and particulate contamination in a Fire Pump Diesel Fuel storage tank to solve the issue of fuel maintenance. It should be installed before the system is turned over to the client or facility manager but may be retrofitted to an existing system if needed. The automations can help eliminate potential failures from personal neglect. Maintenance should still be scheduled regularly to maintain every other portion of the system, (per the NFPA) including additives needed to remove "bugs" from the fuel system. This way the facility can ensure the system is functioning properly when an emergency happens.


Why choose FM APPROVED?

To date, FTI is the only company on the market that provides an FM APPROVED automated fuel maintenance system. Factory Mutual "FM" is a global insurance company with the philosophy "you'll prevent more losses if you meet our high property loss prevention product testing and certification standards." FM Global is one of the leading property insurance carriers in the commercial and industrial property markets. FM is the most widely accepted third party approval in the fire prevention industry and setting the standard in third party certification.

FTI-1.5A Fuel Maintenance System installed
Fire Pump Skid with FTI-1.5A FMS

Existing Fire Pumps can benefit too.

Fire Pumps are run for 10 minutes weekly to assure start-up, but is the fuel in the fuel tank checked at the same time for water and contamination? Probably not. NFPA 25 requires that the fuel storage tank for a Fire Pump be checked & cleaned for free water weekly. An automated stored diesel fuel maintenance system (ADFMS) installed properly will remove near 100% of free water and remove particulate to 2 microns. If you do not clean the tank weekly, it will begin to produce fuel degradation, microbial growth, & sediments. To fix this issue, simply install an FTI-1.5A directly to an existing unit by adding a T-fitting to the bottom outlet, but before installing an automated fuel maintenance system, you may need your tank polished (cleaned).

Unfortunately, too many employees don't have the same care, responsibility or understanding that they need with important equipment. Adding an automated system will help illuminate human error and ensure properly working equipment during an emergency.


Conclusion

Fuel Technologies International wants to help after seeing many maintenance companies not providing the NFPA 25 standard - 5-5.1 "Water in system - Check / Clean Weekly". Knowing this, we are providing the most efficient solution to help save lives, & assets. Awareness is key which is why we will be at the 2023 NFPA Conference & Expo. (Booth 213). Please share this information and stop by to see us. Mention "NFSA rocks" to receive a free tumbler.


"When the fire starts... It's too late to clean your fuel"


-Ryan DeArmond

Fuel Technologies International


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