Understanding Class II Standpipe Systems

The classification and installation requirements for standpipe systems are identified in NFPA 14, Standard for the Installation of Standpipe and Hose Systems.  Standpipes are categorized as class I, class II, or class III. These classifications are based on the hose connection size and intended user of the hose. 

  • Class I System. A system that provides 2 ½ in. hose connections to supply water for use by fire departments.
  • Class II System. A system that provides 1 ½ in. hose stations to supply water for use primarily by trained personnel or by the fire department during initial response.
  • Class III System. A system that provides 1 ½ i.n hose station to supply water for use by trained personnel and 2 ½ in hose connections to supply a larger volume of water for use by fire departments.
For a more extensive and in-depth look at all standpipe systems check out the QRFS article, Guide to Fire Hose Reels and Racks for Standpipe and Hose Systems.

The water source to the standpipe system can be automatic wet, automatic dry, manual dry, or semi-automatic. Automatic wet standpipes are designed to provide the needed water pressure and supply when the valve is opened. These can be wet or dry. Automatic wet systems have water in them all the time, whereas, automatic dry fill with water when the hose valve is opened.  Manual dry systems are designed for use by the fire department, these pipes are dry until the fire department arrives and connects to the fire department connection to fill the standpipe with water from their trucks. Semi-automatic systems require the activation of a fire pump or other device to fill the system with water. 

The Class II system provides a 1 1/2 inch hose station, as opposed to just a hose connection. The hose station is comprised of a connected hose with a nozzle, with the hose being secured on a rack or reel. These standpipe systems are only intended for use by trained personnel. Annex information of NFPA 14 defines trained personnel as those trained in accordance with NFPA 600, Standard on Facility Fire Brigades or the Fire Equipment Manufacturers Association (FEMA). If the Class II system is located on a site with a dedicated fire brigade, then those members must be trained to the requirements of NFPA 600.  For those locations where a dedicated fire brigade is not in place, building occupants or those expected to use the Class II system, personnel training in accordance with the outline and materials provided by FEMA is sufficient.

Class II systems are only permitted to be fed by an automatic wet standpipe riser, with exceptions for areas subject to freezing.
5.4.2 Class II and Class III Standpipe Systems.Class II and Class III standpipe systems with 1 ½ in hose stations shall be automatic wet systems unless located in a facility where piping is subject to freezing and where a fire brigade is trained to operate the system without fire department intervention, in which case an automatic dry or semiautomatic dry system shall be permitted.
The hose connections and cabinets for these systems must be installed as prescribed in NFPA 14. The hose station must be visible and accessible, mounted between 3-5 feet above the finished floor. A hose station is to be located so that it can be accessed from within 130 feet of travel from any part of the building.
A.7.3.3 Hose stations should be so arranged as to allow discharge to be directed from the nozzle into all portions of important enclosures such as closets and similar enclosures.
To ensure the effectiveness of these systems they must be properly inspected, tested, and maintained. The first priority for ensuring system effectiveness is the initial acceptance test when the system is first installed.  The AHJ will visit the site and examine the installation for evidence that the following test and procedures have been completed:

  • Underground piping and FDC piping to the building must be flushed.
  • Verify hose threads are compatible with the hose connection. Compatibility and required hose thread types may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
  • A hydrostatic test must be conducted at 200 psi (or 50 psi over working pressure) for 2 hours.
  • Air pressure leak test at 40 psi for 24 hours must be conducted.
  • Witness a main drain flow test.  System flow test may also be conducted, but can be waived by the AHJ.
  • All notification and supervisory alarm devices will be tested. This process is outlined in NFPA 72.
  • All required signage must be in place.

After the initial installation and acceptance testing, the system must continue to receive ongoing inspection, testing, and maintenance to ensure system readiness. There are annual and 5 year inspection and testing requirements. The hose, cabinet, piping, connections, rack or reel, and threads must be inspected once a year. This inspection is to verify that the system is in good condition, and their is no damage or missing parts, and that the hose is in a proper position to be quickly deployed as necessary.  Every 5 years a functional test with water flow and hydrostatic test of the piping must be conducted. Additionally, the hose must also be tested. If the hose fails the test, prescribed in NFPA 1962, then it must be replaced. 

When these systems or component go bad or need updated, can provide all parts and complete units for fire hose racks or fire hose reels, fire hose adapters, hose for racks and reels, valve cap and chain assemblies, and fire hose nozzles.