How to Select a Portable Fire Pump


A portable fire pump is a specialized piece of equipment used in emergency response and disaster recovery situations. It’s designed to draw water from a source like a lake or river and provide high pressure for spraying long distances with fire hoses to extinguish and control building or wildfires. These specialized pumps are also useful in urban environments and rural locations where fire hydrants may not be readily available.

There is a wide range of fire pumps on the market today that are UL/FM labeled. Most fire departments are interested primarily in the hydraulic performance of the pump, specifically its gallons per minute (US GPM) and pressure boost capacity. They are not usually as concerned with the type of driver or the mounting style of the pump.

In selecting the proper fire pump, the goal is to find the Goldilocks “sweet spot”. Too much pumping and resources are wasted; not enough and you risk catastrophic results. NFPA 20 provides the essential guidelines to achieve this objective.

Once the flow and pressure requirements of a fire pump have been determined it is time to select the appropriate fire pump. It is important to keep in mind that a fire pump is required to operate at 150% of its rated flow, so it should not be selected based on the actual flow demand. It is generally preferred to have a pump rated higher than the required flow to avoid oversizing the pump. This will save costs initially and will allow the pump to be downsized later if conditions dictate. portable fire pump