Photos 26 Aug 2007 08:35 am

Standpipe Sunday Photos

- A necessary accessory to a high rise building in a city is the standpipe and fire sprinkler systems. These are evidenced outside of most of these buildings as odd pipes and valves that attach near the front doors of most buildings.

The standpipe is a pipe that runs vertically through an entire building. It allows the fire department to attach to the standpipe and get water within a fire. Wet standpipes have water always running throughout these pipes. Dry standpipes require water to be pumped into the pipes.

Last weekend there was a fire in a building in NY in which two firefighters died. This building was a remnant of 9/11 in that it was ultimately gutted and asbestos was being cleared from the site. A fire broke out, and one of the reasons for the death of the two men was the dry standpipe. It hadn’t been properly maintained, _________(Click any image to enlarge.)
and water pumped into the pipe burst out and
flooded the stairwells. Thus becoming a problem rather than an aid. The firemen had to use ropes to try to lift hoses to the higher floors.

I find these constructions outside buildings quite interesting. We pass by them, sometimes even sit on them when waiting, without really taking notice of them.
So I decided to photograph some of them.

Traditionally, the pipes look like these. The photo on the left gives a good shot of the
norm. The red pipe indicates a standpipe, and the right pipe indicates a sprinkler system. The fire department can tap into either. I like how they’ve left some of the beautiful brass pipe showing. In the photo on the right, the shapes start to get a bit more wonky.

Valve systems maintain the color schemes of red and green, indicating standpipes and sprinkler. Here we have a yellow one which tells us it’s a combination system.

The signage starts to go crazy on some of them. I’m not sure what “high level alarm” indicates, but it’s scary.

I’ve noticed that most of the superintendents use the water in the standpipe to hose down their sidewalks in the early mornings. I’ve often wondered about this practice of washing
the concrete. They do it even on days it’s going to rain.

The paint job to the valves on the left might soon need a touch up. No pipes other than these valves extend outside of this building. Whereas the pipe on the right has developed
a bit of character.

The standpipe on the left is rather high. I suppose this means the firemen won’t have to bend as much. This pipe (broken at its mouth) hides in the grass behind a fence.

The sign behind this fence leaves no doubt that there’s a standpipe, but then the pipe is higher than the sign. Just one house down the valves hide at ground level, but they keep the sign high enough to see. It’d be interesting to see the firemen cut through the
chain lock to get to it.

Thank goodnesss for the signage. There’s a long shrub circling this building and only the sign lets you know where to find the standpipe. I can imagine firemen hunting.

I love this system. Lotsa valves to play with.

8 Responses to “Standpipe Sunday Photos”

  1. on 07 Jul 2008 at 3:52 pm 1.Natalie said …

    I am a building inspector and no matter how many courses I take…stand pipes and fire connections have proven difficult to grasp – because no one used pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank goodness for your web site.


  2. on 20 Mar 2009 at 12:49 pm 2.Linda said …

    Thank you! I’m teaching a course on fire suppression systems and your photos were a great help!

  3. on 17 Aug 2009 at 9:39 pm 3.Boris said …

    Thank you for your introduction. It is really helpful for my work.

  4. on 04 Nov 2009 at 4:35 pm 4.Oleson said …

    Cool standpipe photos…

  5. on 23 Jan 2010 at 5:02 pm 5.Cooper said …

    Great job, enrolled in a Fire course and wasn’t sure what a standpipe was thanx

  6. on 25 Oct 2010 at 1:01 am 6.Gustavo said …

    I had a question and if anyone has an answer it would be splendid if they can share it with me… I live in Los Angeles, I was wondering if it would be possible for me to get a wet/dry standpipe system so I can bring it for my class project ? If so does anyone have an idea where I could get my hands on one ?

  7. on 04 Oct 2011 at 2:28 pm 7.modsquad said …

    The “high level alarm” refers to that unpainted pipe with the mushroom type cap. That’s a whistle for the oil tank that once the high level is reached it stops whistling telling the driver of the oil truck to shut off the fill line FAST!

  8. on 04 Aug 2015 at 9:05 am 8.TAREK MOUSA said …

    Thank you for your photos. It is really helpful for my work.

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