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Fire Protection
in Buildings
Dr. Benjamin P.L. Ho
Department of Mechanical Engineering
(contact: benjamin.ho@hku.hk)
Fire Hydrant / Hose Reel

Fire Hydrant and Hose Reel System
• Applications and Basic Arrangements
• System Component Details
• Schematic Line Diagram, System Design,
Pumping Calculations
• Sample System Calculation and other design

Applications and
Basic Arrangements

Legislative Requirement

• Refer to COP-FSI for the requirement of installation of the

FH/HR system
• Section 5.14 Fire Hydrant / Hose Reel System
• Section 5.25 Street Fire Hydrant System Students should
read the
• Section 5.26 Supply Tank specification in
• Section 5.30 Water Supply more detail
(observe that one single system may demand multiple sections of the
• Basically all types of buildings are required to be installed
with a FH/HR system.
• except for small buildings where HKFSD may request the
installation of a hose reel system ONLY (but a water tank is still in
Hose Reel Application
• Hose reels enable first hand fire fighting by occupants
• Hose reels are provided to ensure that every location in a floor is
within the reach of the hose. They are sited in common corridors
and/or individual units.
• Each hose reel has a 30m (max) tubing [the length of the hose reel
tubing can be shorter in case the distance to be reached by the hose
reel tubing is shorter]
• A minimum of 6m length water jet from the hose reel nozzle has to be
provided [no particular technical details in this performance

Instructions using the Hose Reel

Get used to the

instructions before
having to read that in
a real fire.

Fire Hydrant Application
• Fire Hydrants are designed for firemen’s use without
having to connect the water hose from ground level during
fire fighting.
• Fire hydrants are sited in the approach lobby to staircase or
in the staircase enclosure so that firemen can plug in their
65mm fire hose to obtain water during firefighting.
• Fire hydrants are not acceptable to be installed in
unprotected corridors.

65mm fire
hose carried
by firefighters

• In different countries, either wet or dry riser can be used in
a fire hydrant system
• Wet riser is permanently charged with water and water
pumping device is installed to maintained the required
• Dry riser can only be used where there is a reliable local
fire brigade as it depends on the charging of water into the
riser by the fire brigade during fire.
• In Hong Kong, wet riser is used. Wet riser is located in a
protected staircase with the numbers of hydrant outlet
governed by the types of buildings served (in industrial
buildings, two FH for each floor).
• Please refer to FSD Circular letter No. 2/2013 regarding an
update of the acceptable locations of the FH and HR.
Water Storage (Section 5.26 & 5.30)
A common water tank is to be provided for both FH and HR use. The size of the
tank is as below:
Floor area (Gross) Storage

≤ 230m2 9,000L
> 230m2 and ≤ 460m2 18,000L
> 460m2 and ≤ 920m2 27,000L
> 920m2 36,000L

Section 5.30 Water Supply

• … unless the town main is on 24 hour supply, provision must be made to
guarantee 30 minutes stored supply…
• Means shall be provided to refill the supply tank automatically. If the tank is
situated at upper level of building and transfer pumps in duplicate for duty
and standby are required to rely water to the tank, the pumps capacity shall
be able to refill the tank to its full capacity within 6 hours. …
Take note of the above requirement as it applies to all fixed systems using
water, i.e., FH/HR, sprinkler, drencher, …
Water Pressure
• Water pressure at the outlet of the fire hydrant shall be
maintained at between:
• 350kPa (at running pressure – meaning water is discharging from
the FH, with frictional loss affecting pressure available) and
• 850kPa (in no case shall 850kPa be exceeded – meaning even
when water not flowing = static pressure + pump pressure OR
when water is flowing under high pump pressure)
• with a design water flowrate of 450L/min at each outlet.
Water • Excessive pressure is usually reduced by installing a pressure
pressure at reducing valve (PRV) or a parity hydrant valve (or parity
this point drain).
• There is no particular pressure requirement for hose reels, but
the minimum jet length of 6m has to be achieved. Due to high
pressure available (350kPa – 850kPa), the required performance
can usually be achieved if the required pressure at the fire
hydrant can be achieved at the same level.
Operation of the FH/HR System
• Operation : When the manual fire alarm call point
(also called Break Glass Unit (BGU) in the old days)
is actuated OR when there is a general fire alarm, the
fire pump for the FH/HR system will be started
• Fire alarm raised
• Fixed Fire Pump for the FH/HR system is turned on
• Nobody may be using the water from the pumps at the
first instance
• in order to prevent ‘no flow’ condition (which may ‘burn’
the fire pump out), water from the pumps will flow back to
the water tank by the installation of a back flow pipe
• Occupants may use the hose reel to fight the fire.
Hose Reel using building water supply
Water Tank

FS Pump (ON)


Hose Heel
(firefighting by

Operation of the Fire Hydrant
• Upon arrival of the fire brigade, firemen will carry
their fire hoses into the building and connect them
to the hydrants for use
• At the same time, firemen will connect fire hoses
from the street hydrant to the fire engine, and
from the fire engine to the fire service inlet to
ensure a readily available water supply
• Although the building fixed fire pump is to be used,
it may be de-energized according to fire fighting
operation and water will be pumped through the
fire service inlet into the system

Fire Hydrant using building water supply
Water Tank

FS Pump (ON)

Connection to Street Hydrant

Fire Hydrant

First team of firemen already

getting into the building to fight
the fire
Fire Hydrant using water supply from FS Inlet
Water Tank

FS Pump (OFF)

FS Inlet

Water from Street Fire Hydrant

Hydrant is delivered
to the fire engine
(which carries a diesel
pump and a water
Water Flow
tank) and then water
is pumped to the FS
Inlet 16
Fire Services and Sprinkler Inlet – Connection
of Water Supply from Street Fire Hydrant
through Fire Engine

Fire Service Sprinkler

Inlet Inlet

Intermediate Pump Requirement
• When the building is greater than 60m (highest FH from the lowest FS Inlet)
in height, the fire engine may not have enough pumping power to pump the water
upwards to the high floors
• An intermediate booster pump is required to booster water to upper floors
• The pressure available from the fire engine can produce a pumping pressure of
800kPa at the location of the Fire Service Inlet.
• Depending on the type of the building, the flowrate of the intermediate booster
pump varies
FS Inlet
800kPa FH at high floors
(at FS Inlet) > 60m above FS Inlet

From fire engine

Intermediate 18
booster pump
FH for Podium Building
• For domestic towers on top of a commercial
podium :
• A single common FH/HR plant to serve all residential
towers (or commercial industrial, etc) and the podium is
not acceptable. Each tower should have its own plant.
• On the contrary, the podium may be served by the
system(s) from one or more towers.
• In terms of electricity supply, a common
emergency generator, however, is acceptable to
serve the whole complex provided that it has the
capacity to back-up essential power for the entire
podium plus one tower.
• Note that for every riser, there should be an accompanied FS Inlet
• The FS Inlets are to be interconnected (either they are grouped 20
together or they are connected according to the code)
System Component Details

Fire Hydrant (see CoP FSI 5.14(a))
• Used by firemen
Type : Fire hydrant should incorporate with individual
control valve.
• Head loss of each fire hydrant outlet is approximately :
150kPa at 450L/min (no accurate data available as the
FH is usually local made by machining workshops)
• Position : Fire hydrants are located at the approach lobby
or insider the staircase enclosure main landing or half
landing (see also FSD Circular Letter)
• Mounted at not more than 1200mm AFFL and not less than
800mm AFFL
• For pressure reduction (when necessary) : use parity valve,
pressure reducing valve or pressure reducing fire hydrant
Automatic air vent
at the top of the
vertical riser (to
ensure the pipe is
fully ‘wet’)

Fire Hydrant
with Parity Valve
and Parity Drain

Fire Hydrant
with Parity

Type Fire
Hydrant 24
Hose Reel (see CoP FSI 5.14(b))
• Used by occupants
• Swing type to be used if recessed (to make
winding/unwinding of the hose easily)
• Position : No rule for the height of the hose reel drum,
but it affect the reaching distance of the hose reel.
• Nozzle and valve shall not exceed 1350mm AFFL
• If hose reel is recessed, the nozzle and valve shall be
reached within 500mm.
• Be careful to decide the positions of hose reel that point to
point distance shall not exceed 30m.
• Break glass unit : Located at not exceeding 1200mm
AFFL (good for disabled people). The breaking of
break glass unit should automatically call upon the
activation of the fire pump even in gravity feed zone.
AFFL – Above Finished Floor Level
Recessed type hose reel

Break Glass Unit and Hose Reel


Hose Reel System (Without FH)
• Requirement if only hose reel system is installed:
Hose reel feed tank shall be 2,000L and this
estimation is based on two numbers of hose reels
each at a flow rate of 24L/min in operation and
last for 40 minutes. Supply pipe size shall be
25mm dia. for one hose reel and 40mm dia. for
• FSD Circular Letter No. 5/2016 and 3/2017
should be referred to for reduced supply tank
capacity for FH/HR upgrades for existing
Fixed Fire Pump (see CoP FSI 5.14(d))
• Position : Enclosed in 2 hours FRP room solely for fire
services equipment.
• Flow rate requirement :
any 3 hydrant outlets: 1,350L/min (3 x 450 L/min) for
industrial building and
any 2 hydrant outlets: 900L/min (2 x 450 L/min) for other
building types.
• The pressure at any fire hydrant outlet shall in no case
exceed 850 kPa. The running pressure at any hydrant outlet
when delivering 450 L/min shall be not less than 350 kPa.
• Pump set shall be duplicated for duty and stand-by. Duty
pump failed to operate within 15 seconds the standby
pump shall start to take over the duty pump
Fixed Fire Pump
• Motor power : motor power should be 20% more
power required at rated flow.
• Status : Status indications required either on panel
if any, or in main entrance of building.
• Shall be started automatically once any fire call
point is actuated
• Once started, must run continuously until stopped
manually at the pump control panel installed near
the fixed fire pump

Acceptance Testing of FH System
• It is important to understand the acceptance testing
of FH system
• Refer to Appendix 5 (page 51) of the CoP for
Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of
Installations and Equipment (second part of the

Extracted from CoP FSI
Intermediate Booster Pump
• Necessary ONLY when height between the topmost
fire hydrant outlet and the lowest fire service inlet
> 60m
• Comprise of
• start/stop push button
• pump running light
• alarm buzzer
• Once started, it must be running continuously until
stopped manually
• Control circuit shall keep the pump running even upon
power change from normal to emergency power
Intermediate Booster Pump
With fire engine boosting water into the FS Inlet at
800 kPa (constant), the pump shall be capable of
producing the following water flow:
Number of Industrial/ Residential Other buildings
riser Godown
One riser 1,350L/min 900L/min 900L/min

Two or 2,700L/min 900L/min 1,800L/min

more risers

Observe that the design flowrate of the intermediate

booster pump is TWICE that of the fixed fire pump in
industrial /godown and other buildings. 34
NO need for twice the flowrate for residential buildings.
Intermediate Booster Pump
• Stand-by pump requirement :
• 100% stand-by OR
• at least one identical pump as per the pumps set (2 or 3
pumps together to achieve the 100% duty are allowed)
and by-pass valve must be installed.
• Control : The On/Off operation button must
installed at relevant Fire Services Inlet and the
intermediate booster pump is allowed to be
assumed in sequential start within a time delay
limitation of 30 seconds.
Design consideration of Intermediate
Booster Pump
Option #1
• One duty, one standby
• Acceptable, but not
recommended for commercial
• Power consumption still the
• But generator set has to
upgrade for allowing a heavy
startup current Duty
900 L/min – residential
Standby 36
Same as duty pump
Option #2
• 2 to 3 duty, 1 standby
• Recommended
• Section 5.14 states:
• Two or three pumps of same
capacity arranged in parallel
using sequential starting may
be employed as the duty
intermediate booster pumps
to achieve the required
pressure and flow within 30 Duty Pump
seconds. Under this 900 L/min x 2 – commercial
900 L/min x 3 – industrial
arrangement, only one Standby Pump
standby pump is required and Need only one duty pump capacity
shall be arranged in parallel to 37

the above duty pumps.

Fire Services Inlet with On/Off Control
for Intermediate Booster Pump

Fire Services Inlet
• Each FSI shall be in a prominent position on the
exterior of the building
• Location approved by FSD
• Situated within easy reach of a fire appliance parked
near the building
(usually within one unimpeded 30m hose length)
• FS inlet loss to be 50 - 60kPa for 900L/min and
110kPa for 1350L/min
(again – no actual head loss data).
• Not less than 600 mm nor more than 1000mm above
the ground
Rising Main
• The rising main is the vertical pipe that we see in the
staircase. FHs are connected directly to the rising
• Each wet riser connect to a FS Inlet on ground floor
(the floor which is accessible to fire engine)
• Size : Minimum 100mm dia. for industrial/godown
building and 80mm dia. for other types of building
• Fire Services Inlet Connecting Pipe : Minimum
150mm dia. for industrial/godown building and
100mm dia. for other types of building. Each rising
main connect with automatic air vent
Schematic Line Diagram
System Design,
Pump Calculation

Legislative Requirement
• The following clauses from the COP-FSI shall be
referred to when designing FH/HR system
• 5.11 Fire Alarm System – specifying the manual fire
alarm system including the ‘Manual Fire Alarm Call
• 5.14 Fire Hydrant / Hose Reel System – specifying
the individual components of the system including
pump flow rate, pipe sizing, pressure requirements, etc.
• 5.26 Supply Tank – specifying the supply tank for the
FH/HR system

Technical Details (For System Design)
Fire Hydrant
• Sited in an approach lobby to a staircase or in the
staircase enclosure
• Every escape staircase shall be provided by fire
hydrant at every floor
• In older industrial buildings, one single hydrant FH without
with two outlets had been used (but due to high
pressure loss, they became obsolete) parity valve
• Operating pressure at the outlet of each hydrant is
between 350kPa and 850kPa
• In case of over pressure (>850kPa even at static
condition), parity valve and drain pipe will have
to be installed
• A usual assumption for head loss in the FH is
150kPa @ 450L/min (standard flow rate for FH)
(we never know what is the pressure drop!!)
FH with
parity valve 48
and drain
Technical Details (For System Design)
Hose Reel
• Rising mains for HR not less than
• Pipes feeding individual HR not

40mm (min)
less than 25mm
• Number of HR required depends 25mm
on the whether all the floor area are (min)
in reach by a 30m length hose
• Upon activation of the BGU, the
HR with
Manual Fire
Fixed Fire Pump shall operate Alarm
Callpoint and
irrespective of zoning Alarm Bell
Technical Details (For System Design)
Fixed Fire Pump
• Flow requirement
• Industrial / godown – 3 FH @ 450L/min
• Others – 2 FH @ 450L/min (900L/min)
• Pressure (at FH outlet)
• Not less than 350kPa at design flow Small return (backflow) pipe for
• Never exceed 850kPa in all conditions minimum flow to protect the

• Duplicated for Duty and Standby

pump from overheat when no
water is discharging from the

FS Tank

Technical Details (For System Design)
Intermediate Booster Pump
• Required ONLY when topmost FH is 60m higher than lowest FS Inlet
• Location will be somewhere from G/F (or even basement) to lower than 60m
• Flow requirement
• Industrial / godown – 3 FH @ 450L/min (1350L/min) for 1 rising main
• Industrial / godown – 6 FH @ 450L/min (2700L/min) for 2 rising main (double
of Fixed Fire Pump)
• Domestic – 2 FH @ 450L/min (900L/min) (same as Fixed Fire Pump)
• Others – 2 FH @ 450L/min (900L/min) for 1 rising main
• Others – 4 FH @ 450L/min (1800L/min) for 2 rising main (double of Fixed Fire
• Pressure (at FH outlet)
• Not less than 350kPa at design flow
• Never exceed 850kPa in all conditions
• Duplicated for Duty and Standby
• Need not 100% standby
• 3 or 4 pumps (2 or 3 Duty / 1 Standby) acceptable Bypass
• Can use Fixed Fire Pump for the purpose of Intermediate Booster Pump
• Bypass is required 51
Technical Details (For System Design)
Rising Main & Fire Service Inlet
• Rising Main Pipe Size
• Industrial / godown – not less than 100mm (each rising
main supply for 2 FH per floor)
• Others – not less than 80mm (each rising main supply
for 1 FH per floor)
• Each rising main with one FS Inlet at ground floor
• When more than one rising main (i.e. more than
one FS Inlet), the FS inlets will be interconnected
by a header pipe
• 150mm for industrial, 100mm for others
• Maximum height 30m above ground level
Technical Details (For System Design)
Pipe Loss Calculations
• Hazen Williams formula may be applied (used in sprinkler
calculation but applies to other piping calculation)
L × Q
P = 6.05 ×105 × 1.85 4.87
C ×d
• P = head loss (bar)
• Q = flow rate (L/min)
• C = pipe material (commonly take 120)
• D = pipe diameter (mm)
• L = pipe length (m)
• Since FH/HR system mostly uses 80mm, 100mm & 150mm
pipework, and the flow is usually fixed at multiples of 450L/min,
it would be easy to prepare a simple table for such flow rates

Pipe Losses
900L/min 1350L/min
= 2 FH in use = 3 FH in use
(other buildings) (godown / industrial
Riser Pipe buildings)
80mm 0.14 mH/m Not allowed
100mm 0.046 mH/m 0.097 mH/m
150mm 0.0064 mH/m 0.014 mH/m

Header 900L/min 1350L/min 1800L/min 2700L/min

Pipe (residential) (commercial) (industrial)
100mm 0.046 mH/m 0.097 mH/m 0.17 mH/m Not allowed
150mm 0.0064 mH/m 0.014 mH/m 0.023 mH/m 0.05 mH/m

Those figures in red are common combinations of chosen pipe size and the anticipated flowrate.

Sample System Calculation

Sample Building (see worked example)
• Commercial building – 500m2 for each floor
• 20 storeys (G/F, 1 -20/F, Roof), 4m floor to floor, no refuge
• 2 staircases with FH in both staircases
• 2 HR for each floor and each located near to one of the escape
• FS Tank and Fixed Fire Pump at roof level
• Available pump locations: G/F and Roof
• What to DO?
• Draft schematic – Gravity Feed? Pump Feed? Possible overpressure?
Need for Intermediate Booster Pump?
• Tank sizing, Pipe sizing, Fixed Fire Pump sizing, Intermediate
Booster Pump sizing
• Layout plan – FH & HR locations, riser pipe locations