Fireline contractors play a vital role in public safety. This sort of work involves installing water pipes that are connected to interior fire sprinklers and exterior fire hydrants used to extinguish fires in residential communities or commercial buildings.
Fireline contractors are also responsible for performing routine maintenance or repair installed pipeline systems. Ongoing maintenance is needed to ensure pipes have adequate water pressure and that lines are in good working order and free from defects that could cause accidental flooding.
Before contractors can obtain their license they undergo a tremendous amount of training. Several states mandate employees go through an apprenticeship program or obtain certification in underground fireline.
Installing fireline systems is a complex process that involves digging trenches; placing pipes into trenches; and connecting mechanisms to complete the system. Afterward, systems are put through several tests to ensure the pipes are tightly secured and water pressure levels are sufficient.
The pressure in fireline has to be substantially higher than that used in domestic water pipes. Contractors make use of a cut-in or hot tap connection to increase pressure. Hot taps are preferred over cut-in devices because they do not interrupt water flow to domestic pipes when fireline is in use. Cut-in connections require temporary disconnect from water mains.
Fireline systems also require a variety of fittings and connectors to maintain water pressure when the system is in use. Each and every system component has to be precisely installed and meticulously maintained to ensure the system works when it’s needed.
One of the more important components is fire department connections (FDC). These devices are installed above ground and used to control water pressure. Additionally, FDC’s are needed so firefighters can connect hoses to hydrants or exterior connections used to supply water for indoor fire suppression systems.
Residential communities rely on public water pipes and fire hydrants to supply fire suppression services. Commercial, institutional, and industrial systems make use of highly advanced systems which are comprised of water mains, sprinkler systems, fire hydrants, and FDC’s.
The majority of fireline pipes are constructed from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), but some are manufactured from metal ductile iron (DIP). All system components must meet guidelines established by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual Research Corporation (FM).
Any time fireline pipes are installed for public works projects all system components are put through additional test to make certain they are in compliance with local mechanical and plumbing codes. In most states, local fire departments governed materials used with municipal projects.
It is vital to work with experienced fireline contractors that are in compliance with state and federal guidelines and utilize approved materials. Look for contractors that have a design engineer and team of licensed contractors experienced with installing and maintaining underground fireline systems.