Did you know that an adequate supply of water for firefighting needs to be available, wherever the location is? This is actually covered in a little-known piece of legislation, (unless you’re in the fire sector, of course): The Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, which states (Section 38(1) ) ‘A fire and rescue authority must take all reasonable measures for securing that an adequate supply of water will be available for the authority’s use in the event of fire.’ In the case of rural properties or larger industrial premises this may well require firefighting water supply by means of large tanks, where there is no natural water supply such as lakes nearby. Obtaining water from hydrants isn’t always an option.
Different categories of fire tanks
Firefighting water tanks – industrial, commercial and agricultural sites
This type of tank needs to be large, as Building Regulations (B5 16.12 and 16.13) require at least 45,000 litres to be available where there is not adequate mains supply or pressure.
The local Fire & Rescue Services need to be advised whenever a firefighting water tank is installed, as it comes directly under their remit to ensure adequate supply. Often the requirement may come from them in any case in considering planning applications.
Tanks-UK recommend the sectional steel tanks for this purpose, since they are sectional and installed on site (reducing transport costs and enabling versatility), and sizes can accommodate different footprints depending on the site. For instance, there are 4 different diameters of tank at 45,000 to 54,000 litres capacity with various heights.
For firefighting systems, the tanks are supplied with a specific fire service fitting, which means that the FRS hoses should immediately connect to the tank without delay in the event of a fire.
Sprinkler system tanks
Did you know that fire sprinkler systems have been around for over 125 years?! They are still a very effective means of suppressing, or restricting spread of, fire in industrial, commercial or residential establishments.
Fire sprinkler systems require a reliable supply of water for immediate dispersion should they be activated. Supply tanks for sprinkler systems don’t need to be as large, and they can be rainwater tanks with suitable filtering systems and pumps. Otherwise they can be mains supplied tanks. Either way, they need to be incorporated into a system with pumps connected to the sprinkler system control panel for immediate activation.
Sprinkler tanks should meet the required UK standards. The Enduramaxx range of plastic water tanks are available in a large range of sizes suitable for this purpose, and Tanks-UK supplied systems can include the following items which are usually required for a sprinkler tank:
- Float or Ball valve on the tank infill.
- AB airgap provision with side spill over weir and cowl
- A drain valve at a low level
- Water level gauge
Underground or above ground?
Permanent underground systems
Underground water tanks are ideal for fire water as they keep the water supply free from any contaminants and take up less actual ground space. They can be installed in a variety of locations. The exact method of installation will vary according to geology and ground conditions but as systems they are relatively easy to install. The GRP tanks are better suited to the larger capacity for firefighting water, as they have the built in reinforcement and strength to resist ground movement. As firefighting systems Tanks-UK can supply underground tanks with the required pipework and hydrant-type outlets above ground.
Underground tanks can also be used for sprinkler system supply tanks, when fitted with mains inlet supply, and suitable pumps, pipework and fittings for the outlet.
Above ground fire tank systems
If you have sufficient ground space, or you want to utilise rainwater harvest tanks for firefighting water, then above ground tanks may be the best choice. As already described above the firefighting water tanks need to be of 45,000 litres capacity or over, so they will likely be the sectional steel tanks. However, there is a 45,000 litre Enduramaxx Plastic water tank available from Tanks-UK as a fire water tank should you prefer a plastic tank.
For sprinkler systems, rainwater harvest tanks (such as the Enduramaxx vertical non-potable water tanks) or recycled water system tanks above ground can be utilised as sprinkler tanks, provided that there is sufficient capacity and suitable pumps and filters fitted. The capacity of water required will vary according to the details of the sprinkler system.
Last, but by no means least in considering firefighting water supplies – Tanks-UK supply our own Tungsten range of water bowsers which have been tried and tested in action as portable firefighting units. Ideally suited to agricultural or forestry areas where fire appliance access is not easy to achieve. For this purpose we would recommend a watering-type bowser with a firefighting nozzle.
Just give us a call on 01953 665940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements and we’ll send you a quote.