Fire flow tests are performed on fire hydrants to determine water availability. It normally involves opening a fire hydrant and allowing the water to flow into a device that measures water pressure and volume. The data that is gathered is used by firefighting agencies for training and planning purposes and to determine if there are any water flow issues associated with a hydrant. It is also used to determine water quality and the condition of the local plumbing systems connected to the fire hydrant.
A fire flow test is an accurate method of determining how useful a fire hydrant really is and if it is ready to go in case of a large fire, but it’s also a slow process. A typical fire flow test requires two workers to open and monitor the hydrant in a process that takes about an hour per hydrant. This is usually fine if there are only a few hydrants that need to be tested, it isn’t so useful if a city needs to test thousands of hydrants. This is why automated fire flow testing has become so popular in large metropolitan areas.
An automated fire flow test can capture critical data such as the static pressure, residual pressure, and the total amount of water used in a test in just a few seconds. This data is uploaded and save on a central computer database where it can be analyzed and put to use, just like the data collected in a traditional fire flow test. With an automated fire flow test, at least six hydrants can be tested in an hour by one person, which makes it far more efficient than traditional testing methods. It also allows cities to save thousands of gallons a year since the test can be performed in a few seconds instead of an hour.