Fire Protection Tanks

As the summer grows hotter, so does the need for fire protection tanks for buildings, properties and other structures. Fire protection tanks capable of holding large amounts of water are needed in case a fire breaks out, threatening property or lives. Many times, large organizations such as hospitals, factories, and other large businesses will have a need for a separate emergency water system to use in case of a fire. This water is held in water tank ranging in small sizes to up to over 50,000 gallons. These fire protection tanks can be horizontal, or vertical. Sometimes, they are buried underground, or are raised off the ground. Usually these tanks are stored at a distance from the structure in which they were designed to protect.

Fire protection tanks can come in different materials and sizes, ranging from Fiberglass tanks, to large stainless steel tanks. These tanks sometimes are capable of holding pressure. Pressure tanks designed for fire protection are becoming more popular because it limits the need for a pump. Air is pumped in to the tank which creates positive water pressure. Adding this, on top of an elevated tank, may limit the need for a pumping system.

Finding the best type of fire protection tank for your business or organization can sometimes be difficult. The National Fire Protection Association, the authority on fire, electrical, and building safety, recommends reading their standard before installing a fire protection tanks for private use. The standard is called “NFPA 22: STANDARD FOR WATER TANKS FOR PRIVATE FIRE PROTECTION.” The NFPA 22 standard addresses many items, including general information, pressure tanks, wood gravity tanks, and more. Below is a complete list of all of the topics discussed:

General Information
Welded-Steel Gravity Tanks and Suction Tanks
Factory-Coated, Bolted Steel Tanks
Pressure Tanks
Wood Gravity Tanks and Suction Tanks
Embankment-Supported Coated Fabric Suction Tanks
Concrete Gravity Tanks and Suction Tanks
Fiberglass-Reinforced Plastic Tanks
Tank and Tower Foundations in the Ground
Steel Tank Towers
Pipe Connections and Fittings
Valve Enclosures and Frost Protection
Tank Heating
Acceptance Test Requirements
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water Tanks
*Note, a new edition is due to come out in 2013.

Once you have read the NFPA 22 standards, you then may be able to decide what type of tank you wish to purchase. Used tanks will always be cheaper, but be sure they are in good condition and do not leak. Deciding if you are going to bury your tanks is also important before purchasing. Remember, an underground tank may be more difficult to inspect for leaks or damage once it is installed.

Pricing for these tanks will vary, with stainless steel tanks being higher priced than steel tanks, and fiberglass or plastic tanks being the most inexpensive. If purchasing a plastic tank for any use, sometimes is is almost cheaper to buy new. Fiberglass tanks can be purchased for as low as 50 cents per gallon in some areas, where as steel could go for 50 cents up to 1.50 per gallon depending on the type or condition, and stainless steel tanks could range in $1.00 to $3.00 per gallon, depending on the type of stainless steel used, the condition, and what the tank was previously used for. Remember, these prices always vary depending on the market. You will find most fire protection tanks will be constructed of steel.

Regardless of what kind of tank you buy or use, just be sure it meets all of the legal requirements of a fire protection tank in your locality. Also, be sure to read the national fire protection associations NFPA 22 standard for water tanks for private fire protection.


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