A fire department connection (FDC) includes one or more fire hose inlet connections on a sprinkler system, standpipe system, or other water-based suppression system. The hose inlet connections enable the fire department or fire brigade to hook up hose lines from one or more pumpers and feed water into the system to supplement the connected automatic water supply (Figure 5.1). In manual dry standpipe systems, FDCs are the only water supply.
Requirements for FDCs appear in the following standards:
- NFPA 13, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems;
- NFPA 13R, Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems in Residential Occupancies up to and Including Four Stories in Height;
- NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems;
- NFPA 15, Standard for Water Spray Fixed Systems for Fire Protection;
- NFPA 16, Standard for the Installation of Foam-Water Sprinkler and Foam-Water Spray Systems; and
- NFPA 750, Standard on Water Mist Fire Protection Systems.
These standards set minimum criteria for FDCs, such as which systems require them, their arrangement, and the pipe sizes they feed. The IBC and IFC also contain requirements for FDC location and signage. This chapter will expand upon those criteria and provide guidance on FDC location, quantity, numbers of inlets, positioning, and marking. Also included are particular considerations that need to be taken into account during the building construction phase.
In some cases, FDCs are not required because they would be of little or no value. Examples include remote buildings that are inaccessible to the fire service, large open-sprinkler deluge systems that exceed the pumping capability of the fire department, and very small buildings.
Designers should always seek out and follow fire department requirements, recommendations, and advice for special circumstances. The sole users of FDCs are the fire departments that must connect to them. Any deficiency related to the FDC can cause delays in fire suppression, and therefore a decrease in the safety of both firefighters and building occupants.