A fire pump is any kind of pump that is part of a fire protection system’s water supply. It is important to know that a fire pump does not create water, it takes water that is given to it from a water supply and increases the pressure (energy) of the water. A fire pump can be powered by electric, diesel or steam and can supply fire sprinklers, standpipes, foam systems, water spray/mist systems or any combination of these systems. The fire pump’s intake is usually connected to the external water supply, although in some cases it may be connected to a local water source such as a well, tank, or body of water.
Fire pumps are needed when the water supply cannot provide sufficient pressure to meet the hydraulic design requirements of the fire protection system. This usually occurs if the building is very tall, such as in high-rise buildings, or in systems which require a relatively high terminal pressure at the fire sprinkler in order to flow a large volume of water, such as in storage warehouses. Fire pumps are also needed if the water supply is provided from a ground level water storage tank.
Types of pumps used for fire service include: horizontal split case, vertical split case, vertical inline, vertical turbine, and end suction.