Damage and vandalism to fire department connections (FDCs) happens all the time. Passersby shove trash in the FDC opening, building owners block them or thieves steal parts for the metal. All these things can cause significant damage or make the connection inoperable.
This issue may be more prevalent during protests. While most protesters are not out to cause property damage, some are. It is important to be vigilant and inspect FDCs more often if there are protests in your jurisdiction.
Properly working fire sprinkler systems and FDCs help save lives and property. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has several codes and standards covering FDC maintenance. NFPA 13E and 25 cover these topics in detail and many others mention it, too.
Fire departments should regularly do the following:
- Periodically ensure FDCs are operational and free from debris.
- Plan for an alternate source of water in case an FDC is inoperable.
- Ensure any damaged or missing components are promptly replaced.
Humans are not the only cause of damage to systems. Corrosion, rust, ice and animals can all render an FDC inoperable. Fire and life safety rely on proper maintenance and inspections. Catching these issues before they pose a threat is key.
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: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times