Separating drinking water from the firefighting water supply
When designing hydrants and water-based firefighting systems, we have to consider fire safety and prevention plans as well as legal principles, regulations and guidelines.
When fighting fires using a hydrant or water-based firefighting system, drinking water from the public water supply network is usually used. Drinking water is consumed, so keeping it clean is of utmost importance. Therefore, hydrants and water-based firefighting systems should only be connected to the drinking water network through firefighting water transfer points. This prevents backflow and keeps the water clean. This is the only way to protect the drinking water, save human lives and supply the fire department with sufficient water in case of an emergency.
Why you can have confidence in CWS’s service for hydrants and water-based firefighting systems
Fire safety and prevention systems need to be perfectly coordinated with the layout and installation of electrical and water supply lines so that fire suppression systems can be implemented. We can help you with this.
We operate nationwide installing water-based firefighting systems. After the system has been approved by an inspector, you will be taught how to use it.
From consultation to installation and maintenance, we provide a comprehensive service for water-based firefighting systems and hydrants. This includes 24-hour support for any problems and immediate inspection and maintenance for any reports of malfunction.
Types of water-based firefighting systems
Dry water-based firefighting systems
“Dry” water-based firefighting systems are only used by the fire department. In this system, water is withdrawn via an extraction point using a fire hose. One such extraction point is a dry wall hydrant. These enable the fire department to quickly transport water to the necessary floors through permanently installed water lines – referred to as standpipes – without having to install hose lines.
Wet water-based firefighting systems
Water can be withdrawn from “wet” water-based firefighting systems at any time. A storage tank and pressure boosting system provide the required water supply and pressure throughout the building. Type S wall hydrants are intended exclusively for independent use. Specially trained employees (e.g. fire safety officers) or the fire department can use these to begin putting out the fire via a permanently mounted hose. Type F wall hydrants are designed similarly to type S but have an additional water transfer point. This allows the fire department to install its own hose line and thus increase the water’s range.
Dry/wet water-based firefighting systems
“Dry/wet” water-based firefighting systems are installed in an area of the building where there is no frost protection, such as in garages. The filling and draining system ensures that drinking water is kept separate. Water can be withdrawn via a water extraction point or a wall hydrant.
Underground and above-ground hydrants
Underground hydrants are not just used by the fire department to put out fires. They are also used by street cleaners and marquee festival organisers. Underground hydrants collect the water supply. They are embedded in the ground and protected by a hydrant cap. These do not require maintenance. Above-ground hydrants are used exclusively by the fire department and require yearly maintenance.
Water-based firefighting systems in accordance with building regulations
Country-specific building regulations (abbreviated to LBauO in German) regulate the use and type of water-based firefighting systems in buildings. Authorities issue building permits, and fire safety and prevention policies provide additional regulations. Furthermore, water-based firefighting systems are often connected to the drinking water supply which is illegal. Drinking water must be protected against contamination as per the drinking water ordinance Trinkwasserverordnung DIN 1988-6.
- Technical regulations for workplaces/fire prevention measures ASR A2.2
- Technische Regeln für Trinkwasser-Installation DIN 1988 (part 5 and 6): technical regulations for drinking water installations
- Feuerlösch-Schlauchanschlusseinrichtungen DIN 14461 (part I): regarding fire hose connection devices
- Löschwassereinrichtungen DIN 14462: regarding water-based firefighting systems
Inspection and maintenance of hydrants and water-based firefighting systems
In accordance with DIN 14462, hydrants and water-based firefighting systems, which are required by the building authorities, are subject to strict inspections:
- Inspection and maintenance must be carried out by a professional.
- Any issues must be addressed and repaired.
- It must be documented.
The building’s operators and owners can entrust these tasks to the CWS Fire Safety Team, such as through a service and maintenance contract. We also oversee all regular maintenance appointments and ensure that they are completed on time. “Wet” and “wet/dry” water-based firefighting systems with wall hydrants as well as above-ground hydrants are subject to yearly maintenance. “Dry” water-based firefighting systems need to be inspected every two years. In addition, water-based firefighting systems are subject to professional inspections every three to six years as per the ordinance TÜV-Prüfverordnung (TPrüfVO).
If minor repairs are required during maintenance, they will be immediately performed on request using our well-equipped service vehicles to save you unnecessary travel costs and reduce vehicle emissions.
Wall hydrants as special cases (ASR A2.2, amended in May 2018)
The ASR A2.2 regulates fire prevention measures. In the amended version from May 2018, basic equipment for firefighting devices is clearly defined: DIN EN 3-7:2007-10 specifies the use of portable fire extinguishers; the previously eligible wall hydrants are no longer included and can only be included as a special exception to the ASR A2.2.
The ASR A2.2 permits the use of options that differ from the basic equipment. Whether to use any options and which ones are suitable will need to be taken into prior consideration. This decision should be made in close consultation with a fire protection authority, a fire protection expert and your fire protection specialist company. Our experts would be happy to assist you.
The installation of hydrants and water-based firefighting systems tends to raise quite a few questions. Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Why do you need to keep drinking water separate from the water used for the firefighting system?
Drinking water must be kept clean to protect people, and this is not guaranteed when the two water supplies are connected. Therefore, it is required to keep drinking water and firefighting water separate for all firefighting water extraction points as per the drinking water ordinance (Trinkwasserverordnung) and per DIN 14462 from 2012.
If I have a water-based firefighting system that was installed before 2012, do I need to retrofit it with a drinking water separation station?
As long as the system works perfectly without any problems, the building’s operator is not required to do so. However, as soon as the system requires servicing, we strongly recommend retrofitting it with a drinking water separation station. In the end, the inspector will still require you to do so for the approval process anyway.
How often is the system checked by an inspector?
Regular inspections take place every three to six years, depending on the federal state.
Are employees also allowed to use wall hydrants?
Trained employees, such as fire safety officers, are supposed to use wall hydrants to extinguish any fires that may arise. We would be happy to provide your employees with training on how to use wall hydrants.
How often do hydrants and water-based firefighting systems need to undergo maintenance?
“Wet” and “wet/dry” water-based firefighting systems and hydrants need to undergo yearly maintenance, while “dry” water-based firefighting systems only need to undergo maintenance every two years.
Are visual inspections required?
Yes, visual inspections need to be performed at least every six months by someone trained to do so, such as an in-house technician. We recommend performing visual inspections on a weekly basis.