Today, fires of all sizes are extinguished with various media—foam, gas, chemicals—containing a range of substances. However, water still does its thing—as H20 is a completely oxidized material, it creates a barrier between the fuel source and the oxygen source, smothering the fire. For this reason, water is key to extinguishing systems, such as the water-based fire protection systems covered by NFPA 25-2020.
Unsurprisingly, water is the original fire extinguishing agent. In ancient Rome, the avaricious Marcus Crassus operated his own fire brigade. This is recognized as the original fire department, but it unfortunately commences the history of a heroic, safety-oriented field in a mischievous way. Upon arrival at even the largest conflagrations, Crassus’s representatives would offer to buy the building on the spot and would only help if the owner agreed to sell.
In the millennia that succeeded Crassus’s treachery, however, fire protection always keeps safety at mind. This is crucial when combating the approximately 1.3 million fires each year. In fact, the purpose of NFPA 25-2020 is to provide “a reasonable degree of protection for life and property from fire through minimum inspection, testing, and maintenance methods for water-based fire protection systems.”
By focusing on water-based fire protection systems, NFPA 25-2020 is applicable to sprinkler, standpipe and hose, fixed water spray, private fire hydrants, water mist, and foam water, as well as private fire service mains and appurtenances, fire pumps and water storage tanks, and valves that control system flow.
In all, NFPA 25-2020 sets the minimum guidelines for the periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems. The standard also identifies actions to take when changes in occupancy, use, process, materials, hazard or water supply that impact the performance of the system are planned. This American National Standard’s use is expected to be coordinated with NFPA 72.
NFPA 25-2020 revises the 2017 edition of the same standard for water-based fire protection systems. It has been changed in the following ways:
- “Electrically operated sprinklers” was defined. Since this is a new technology, information for their inspection, testing, and maintenance was also added.
- Information for recalled sprinklers was added to Chapter 4, “General Requirements.”
- New section on dry hydrants in Chapter 7, “Private Fire Service Mains.”
- “Dry sprinkler test requirements” were modified from 10 years to 15 years.
- Clarifications added to the automated testing for waterflow alarm devices.
- Chapter 8, “Fire Pumps,” now clarifies “that energized pump controllers should not be opened and introduces the concept of an isolating switch in a separate compartment as part of the pump controller.”
- Revisions were made for fire pump annual flow test and its evaluation.
- Additional information was added to Chapter 12, “Water Mist Systems.”
NFPA 25-2020: Standard For The Inspection, Testing, And Maintenance Of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems, 2020 Edition is available on the ANSI Webstore.