Things You Need to Know About Water Storage Systems for Fire PreventionJuly 14, 2020
Continuous and regular water supply is an important requirement for many business organizations. Water is important for consumption and is utilized in washrooms, manufacturing facilities, and other important areas. This need is usually met through water delivery systems and water storage systems such as water tanks. A well-designed water tank ensures the continuous supply of water during calamities like drought and failure of pump machinery. Do you know water is important for fire protection, too? Yes, this requirement has been addressed by various fire and building codes in the US. Today engineers and architects are turning to reliable and durable water tanks more than ever before. Does that mean any regular water tank will suffice? No. There are certain requirements.
Important Factors Governing the Design and Construction of Water Tanks
Water tanks must be designed to assure a reliable water supply over a long duration. Fire protection water supply requirements may vary across the states. However, there are still some common factors to be considered when designing these water tanks:
- Construction Material: The water tank must be made of non-combustible material, stored above the ground, and equipped with an outlet that is compatible with your local fire services hoses. Steel, especially carbon steel, is the most common material used in the construction of fire protection water tanks. Carbon steel is proven to perform in challenging work environments where tanks may be exposed to fire or corrosive elements.
- Use of Right Tank Fittings: It is always recommended to use metal fittings on these tanks due to their ability to easily withstand high temperatures. They must be fitted correctly in order for firefighters to easily connect them to their hoses. If you are using a single water tank at your facility, it must be fitted with two outlets – one for fire-fighting and one for regular domestic use.
- Tank Fabrication Standards:The tank must be fabricated following fabrication standards such as UL-142, UL-58, UL-1746, AWWA D-100-05, AWWA D-102-06, etc.
- Tank Capacity: Tank capacity and duration of use also vary throughout the US. You need to check the water amount that is allowed for various counties or states. They may vary from 2000 to 4000 gallons for small properties and 10,000, 30,000, and 45,000 gallons for large properties. Water allocation for firefighting purposes may differ in high-risk areas.
- Duration of Use: Usage may vary across high rise commercial buildings and small business organizations. For instance, the San Diego County Fire Authority requires users to install water tanks that ensure continuous water supply for 20 or 40 minutes at 250 gallons per minute water flow.
- Safety-driven features:These tanks must be equipped with safety-driven features such as level monitoring and overfill flow protection.
Important Types of Water Tanks for Fire Fighting
There are different layouts for firefighting water tanks. However, most designs follow either of the two layouts – cistern tanks and reservoir tanks. Some regulations may also require you to use ASME pressure vessels for firefighting storage requirements. Cistern water tanks follow traditional designs where water is stored permanently and extracted through pipes, whereas reservoirs may produce water on pumping or through gravity flow.
- Cistern Tanks: These are the regular firefighting water storage systems used across the US. They may be installed above or underground for fire protection. These tanks are governed by standards such as the American Water Works Association AWWA D100-05 “Standard for Welded Steel Tanks for Water Storage”, and the National Fire Protection Associations NFPA 22-2008 “Standard for Water Tanks for Private Fire Protection”. These atmospheric water tanks are made of stainless steel or carbon steel and possess single-walled construction.
- Reservoir Tanks: These water storage tanks can be designed as an ASME pressure vessel or an atmospheric tank. When designed as an atmospheric water storage vessel they may be installed aboveground or underground. If designed as an ASME pressure vessel, the construction tank must comply with the ASME Code, Section VIII, Division I. The welding must comply with ASME Section IX. ASME pressure vessels are built primarily using materials such as stainless steel – type 304 and 316 and SA516 GR70 carbon steel.
It is recommended to contact the local fire authorities as well as building compliance agencies before investing in water tanks for fire protection. Now you know the importance of building the right cistern tank or a water reservoir for fire safety. It is important to source them from a reliable manufacturer. BEPeterson is a trusted and leading industry leader in fire safety water storage solutions. The company has been providing customized cistern tanks for use in commercial, residential, and industrial applications. The experts at BEPeterson can also design ASME pressure vessels to comply with fire codes in various counties or states.