Why and how you need to keep those fire department connections covered
When firefighters need to supply water to a building’s fire sprinkler or standpipe system, they turn to fire department connections (FDCs). Clean, well-maintained swivels on an FDC allow firefighters to quickly connect fire hoses to supplement or supply a building’s standpipe and/or sprinkler system.
But debris, garbage, or dirt—and even vandalism—can render a fire department connection inoperable. With a cap or plug of the right size, building owners can keep an FDC intact and their building’s fire protection system fully operational.
In this article, we’ll talk about the easy way to properly size an FDC breakable cap, fire department connection plug, and Storz cap.
If you already know what you need, click here to view our selection of FDC accessories, including FDC caps and plugs.
The inner waterway of an FDC, often at 2 1/2″ in size, determines the size of the breakable cap or plug needed
If you have a standard FDC like the one pictured and you measure the outside of the inlet, you’ll come up with a measurement of approximately 3 ½”. What size break cap or plug do you think you need?
The correct answer: 2 1/2″. The only measurement that counts when selecting an FDC breakable cap or fire department connection plug is the inside waterway of the inlet.
This is the most common size of a commercial FDC. About 98% of our customers have a 2 1/2″ FDC. Only select locations like New York and San Francisco commonly use a larger 3″ size. And family homes are the only consistent users of 1 ½”.
Pictured below are the standard inside measurements for a 2 1/2″ breakable FDC cap and plug. While the fire department connection plug is close at roughly 2 1/2″, the breakable cap is wide enough to cover the full inlet—nowhere near 2 1/2″.
In the end, though, both the fire department connection plug and the breakable cap fit perfectly. They completely cover the entryway to the swivel and thread nicely.
Some jurisdictions require 3″ FDC plugs and breakable caps
As stated above, caps and plugs used with some fire department connections, notably San Francisco and New York, typically measure 3″. While the outside of the swivel or cap measures more than 4″ in diameter, the actual cap size needed is significantly smaller.
Again, this is where the measurement of the internal waterway counts. The inner ring of the inlet is around the 3″ mark.
Once again, looks can be deceiving. The inner portion of the fire department connection plug measures 3″, matching the size of the swivel closely. But the measurement taken of the break cap is around 4″—just like the outer measurement of the FDC inlet.
Despite the outer measurements of the FDC inlet reaching more than 4”, it’s the 3″ plug that fits snugly into these FDC swivels.
Residential fire department connection plugs and caps often measure 1 1/2″ in diameter
Like the other swivels shown so far, swivels on residential fire department connections should also be measured from the inside to get a cap with a proper fit. This 1 1/2″ swivel requires a 1 1/2″ cap.
What about Storz FDCs?
Some municipalities require Storz connections on FDCs (and hydrants), a non-threaded hook-up that allows firefighters to connect quicker. To learn more about Storz connections and FDCs, read this blog.
Common sizes for Storz connections are 5″ and 4″, and the measurements work the same way as traditional inlets. To get an accurate number, you need to measure the interior waterway, not the outer diameter.
FDC breakable caps, fire department connection plugs, and Storz caps are in stock at QRFS
At QRFS, we offer a full selection of 2 1/2″ and 3″ plugs made with brass or lightweight aluminum. We also stock a selection of color-coded iron plugs to comply with New York City building codes, including:
- Red for use with standpipe systems
- Green for fire sprinkler systems
- Yellow for combination standpipe and fire sprinkler systems
If you’re purchasing a red, green, or yellow plug it’s important to note that they’re only available with New York Fire Department (NYFD) Threads. We carry unpainted chrome and cast-brass plugs in 2 1/2″ sizes, and 3″ brass plugs with both NYFD and NST threads.
Now that you know your options, check out the table below to find the best choice for your FDC inlet, or click here to browse our full selection of caps, plugs, and more.
|Brass FDC Plug and Chain – 1 1/2″, 2 1/2″, or 3″
All options are available online 24/7 – and in-stock in multiple locations within the United States. Order today and you’ll receive an excellent product delivered extremely fast, backed by QRFS’s customer service.
This blog was originally posted by Jason Hugo and Anna Hartenbach at blog.qrfs.com on June 15, 2017, and updated on February 7, 2022. If this article helped you find what you needed, check us out at Facebook.com/QuickResponseFireSupply or on Twitter @QuickResponseFS.