Should My Department Do Weekly Fire Pump Tests?

Jon's Mid America

You may not use your fire pump to fight every fire, but it’s not a tool you want to go without. If you’re fighting a fire with limited water access, it can grow from a small spark to a quick blaze without a pump. Though you may not use your pump often, you’ll need to test it regularly to ensure it doesn’t get stuck at the wrong moment.

The NFPA requires yearly testing of your pump that covers a detailed list of tasks, but only testing yearly may not be in your best interests. Think about your apparatus – would you feel safe using it if you only took it out once a year? Yearly testing is certainly important, but weekly testing better ensures the safety of your pump.

Keep reading for more information on the benefits of regular pump tests and how to perform these tests.

Why should I do weekly pump testing?

As we mentioned before, regular pump testing has a number of benefits for your department.

What are some of the reasons you may perform weekly fire pump tests?

  • It’s required. If you have a diesel engine driven pump, you’ve always been required to perform weekly tests. For those who have electric pumps, there is a bit more leniency. In 2017, the NFPA mandated that some electric pumps must have weekly tests done, but others may only be required to perform monthly tests.
  • It saves you money later. If you can catch a problem with your fire pump before it becomes worse, you’ll save yourself from major costly repairs down the road. If you only test once a year, you may not notice an issue until it’s too late. Preventive maintenance is key for a department that wants to prolong the life of their equipment.
  • Not tending to it can be deadly. When a fire is raging, you don’t want to be trapped with zero water pressure. You’re risking the lives of both yourself and others when you fail to take care of your gear.

What are the best practices for weekly pump testing?

When performing a pump test, you should treat it as though you’re on a call while still allowing yourself to pay close attention to the pump. The NFPA requires that you allow a diesel pump to run for 30 minutes each week and 10 minutes for an electric pump. During this time, check for any unnatural sounds or heat that emits from your pump. Anything that is unusual should be noted and immediately taken care of.

While performing your pump test, be sure to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Wear all personal protective equipment.
  • Perform the test on a hot day with no wind
  • Ensure the area is properly ventilated
  • Avoid duplicate conditions from your previous tests for a breadth of results

Don’t be alarmed if you notice a small change in the outcome of your pump tests, as they can change up to 10% during the life of your pump. If you’re concerned, you can have a pump test performed by trained mechanics on-site who can help mend any problems that you may notice.

Are you looking for trustworthy, professional fire pump testing?

Contact Jon’s Mid America. Our full-service shop can help your department stay safe and keep within NFPA guidelines.

firefighter drinking water to avoid heat exhaustionred fire truck in red garage