"Fire Pumps: Time to Change NFPA 25 Weekly Churn Testing"
Author: Saidi, John F.,Davis, Richard J.,
Published In: Facilities Manager
Date: March/April 2010
APPA, through its Code Advocacy Task Force (CATF), is active with code organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This article reviews some of the recent work on NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, by the CATF and some members of the NFPA 25 Technical Committee. The current (2008) NFPA 25 requires weekly tests of fire pump assemblies to be conducted without flowing water, sometimes referred to as a "churn test." During the current review cycle of NFPA 25 the authors submitted several proposals to decrease the "no-flow" test frequency for all fire pumps from weekly to monthly, and one proposal to decrease the churn test frequency for electric motor driven fire pumps. As of this writing, the latter proposal has made it through several processes to final balloting, although the authors remain unsure of the final outcome of the proceedings. This CATF work continued an effort begun by Mike Anthony, a senior electrical engineer at the University of Michigan, whose goal is reducing testing cost without compromising safety. The authors believe that weekly testing is an undue burden while providing no appreciable benefit. Indeed, weekly testing might be so frequent as to cause a decrease in system reliability. It should be abandoned for the reasons discussed in this article.
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