What Is FDC in Construction?

January 24, 2024

FDCs are an essential part of every fire suppression system, and they're required for most commercial buildings by NFPA. As a building owner, you're responsible for the inspection, testing, and maintenance of your facility's FDCs, so it's important to know what you're looking at when inspecting them.

A FDC is a connection on the exterior of a building where firefighters can hook up their fire hoses to pump water into the building stand pipe system, supplementing the water pressure from the sprinkler system in case of a fire. The NFPA requires that all FDCs be inspected, tested, and maintained on a regular basis.

There are several different types of FDCs, based on installation locations, building accessibility, systems, and water requirements. There are freestanding FDCs that stand apart from the building, flush-mounted FDCs that run underground to a pit near the building, and exposed FDCs with a Siamese inlet valve that sticks out of the wall of the building.

Most FDCs have two female swivel connections that firefighters hook their fire hoses to when they're responding to a fire. During a quarterly inspection, these inlet valves should be checked to see 1) that they're present and 2) that they rotate freely and easily. Also, the swivels have a black gasket that ensures a watertight connection; this should be replaced if it's worn or missing.

FDCs are also equipped with a check valve and plugs that prevent foreign materials from clogging the inlet valves. During a quarterly inspection, the plugs and check valve should be checked to make sure that they're in good working condition. The clapper, which opens and shuts the FDC valve during a fire, should also be checked to see that it opens and closes properly.

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