CLASS II (NON-FIRE ATTACK) STANDPIPE OUTLETS IN BIG BOX STORES
There are three classes of NFPA approved standpipe outlets found across the nation:
Class I – 2.5” hose connection intended for fire department use only.
Class II – 1.5” hose connection (with hose) intended for occupant use only.
Class III – 1.5” hose connection (with hose) intended for occupant use only, and a 2.5” connection intended for fire department use only.
Some nineteen years ago, all the old 1.5” single jacket hose was removed from all Class II hose cabinets in our city. This was to prevent occupants from attempting to fight a fire using these old systems that were equipped with untested hose and very low flow nozzles. This of course rendered these outlets useless, and rightly so.
While walking through a modern big box store have you ever notice those 1.5” standpipe outlets (SPO) that are attached to product display racks? Have you ever wondered why they are there and who would use them? Figure 4 was taken at a Lowe’s store and is typical of this type of installation.
If they where meant for the fire department to use during a fire attack, they certainly would have been installed as a 2.5” Class I approved SPO. And even if they were, would you want to hook up to an interior SPO that is on the fire floor whereas a retreat would lead the crew back to the SPO, and not to the safety zone of the building’s entrance/exit? They’re not technically for “occupant use only” (Class II) because these new systems were never outfitted with hose. The best explanation I’ve heard is they’re for the fire service to use once the fire is out and we can then attach a 1.75” hose to perform mop-up. But this is a head scratcher since all we have to do is remove the smooth bore tip from our 2.5” attackline bale and attach our 1.75” mop-up line. So I put these SPO into the same category as all the other Class II standpipe outlets; pretty much as worthless as tits on a boar hog.
To further clarify my statement about not wanting to hook up to an interior SPO in a big box store (wide-rise) one must consider that in a high-rise, we hook up our attacklines in the stairwell at least one floor below and stretch to the fire floor. This gives us the safety zone of the stairwell to operate from, or retreat to if needed. We really have only one safe option when considering where you stretch your attacklines from. They must be stretched from the engine. The attackline leading from the engine and through the entrance/exit will lead back to the safety zone; and that is to the outside where the engine sits.
Whether it’s a ground floor fire in a wide-rise, a ground floor in a high-rise, or the tenth floor of a high-rise, the concept of the attackline leading to and from a safety zone is illustrated below. Also; just as a high-rise building is considered a commercial structure, so is a wide-rise or big box store. Choose the size of your attacklines accordingly.