Q: What is the requirement for water flow testing fire pumps under emergency power? I have heard some hospitals are being cited for not doing this, but a surveyor once told me they don’t ask to see that documentation. What is actually required?
A: Good question. Why don’t all AHJs require the same level of testing and inspections when it involves fire safety equipment? There are multiple answers for this problem:
•§ Not all AHJs know and understand the requirements of the codes
•§ Some AHJs purposely decide not to enforce some codes and standards
•§ People are people and some either forget to ask to see the documentation, or don’t feel it is important
Section 18.104.22.168 of the LSC requires compliance with section 9.7, which in turns requires compliance with NFPA 25, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems (1998 edition). NFPA 25 section 5-3.3.4 clearly states during the annual water flow test all electric-powered fire pumps that are connected to emergency power via a transfer switch must test the pump under emergency power at peak (150% of nameplate rating) capacity. This is not a new requirement and has been in the book for at least 15 years that I know of. My advice is to always perform this and all NFPA testing and inspection requirements even though one AHJ may not ask to see the results. The next AHJ knocking on your door may very well ask to look at that documentation.