Q: Do we have to conduct a monthly flow test on fire pumps in healthcare?
A: No… NFPA 25-2011, section 18.104.22.168 requires monthly test of the electric-driven fire pump at no flow conditions, or what is commonly called ‘churn’. The test is started with the water pressure being reduced at the pressure switch controller until the pump starts. The pump is operated for 10 minutes with suction pressure and discharge pressure readings taken, along with confirmation that the pump shaft packing glands drip water (approximately 17 drips per minute, but follow manufacturer’s recommendations). The pump housing pressure relief valve is required to release water so you confirm that happens as well. Once the pump has operated for 10 minutes then it can be shut off. Engine driven fire pumps still have to be tested weekly for 30 minutes. A test where water is actually flowed is required annually on all fire pumps.