We are only six months from the 2020 edition of NFPA 25. NFPA 25 typically does not have any major changes since it covers all sprinkler systems regardless of age. Major changes might require costly changes to existing sprinkler systems. In some jurisdictions, a new NFPA standard or code is adopted on January 1st the year it is issued. Some jurisdictions still follow NFPA 25 2011 or 2014. Sooner or later, the new standard will be adopted. The draft copies are available on the NFPA website and the committee will be meeting soon to vote and finalize the changes. Some of the proposed changes are below.
Automated waterflow switch testing looks like it will be approved. Flowing water will still be required every three years. Equipment is already in use in other countries with automated zone checks that have an electric pump that circulates water through an orifice to activate the paddle on a flow switch.
Zone Check Automated Flow Switch Testing
The rules for working in energized electric fire pump panels will refer to following NFPA 70E as a minimum requirement for electrical safety. NFPA 70E requires training and a lot of special personal protective equipment. There is already a Tentative Interim Amendment for NFPA 25 2017 with the same rules. You can’t open an energized electrical fire pump panel without following NFPA 70E. Some old panels require the door to be open to take voltage and current readings for pump flow testing.
Electrically operated sprinkler heads will be added. The testing requirements will be per the manufacturer’s instructions and NFPA 72.
Fire pumps that do not meet the flow test criteria will be considered as an impairment rather than a critical deficiency.
The time required for mechanical and switch type waterflow devices to operate after waterflow has previously not been specified in NFPA 25. NFPA 13 requires 5 minutes for the mechanical device and NFPA 72 requires 90 seconds for waterflow devices connected to the fire alarm panel. This may be in the 2020 edition but may be taken back out during the final votes.
The full draft is available on the NFPA website.
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