The Best Water Storage Tanks for Fire Protection

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The Best Water Storage Tanks for Fire Protection

It's critical to safeguard all of your most valuable assets and items that cannot be replaced: your family, home, and livestock in rural areas, especially when they're at risk of wildfires. Preparing requires having a strategy in place should danger strike, putting those plans into action to maintain and organize your property, and having enough water on site. As local standards, insurance industry requirements, and fire safety codes continue to evolve, more and more people are seeking tanks to store water in case of a fire. NFPA 22 governs fire protection tanks and now requires that fire suppression tanks be installed in many commercial and industrial structures.

Ideally, standby water for fire protection is stored underground, in aboveground fiberglass tanks, or in bolted steel tanks. Factory-coated bolted steel tanks are a cost-effective and long-lasting solution for fire protection water storage, while fiberglass offers a rust-proof, nearly indestructible option. It’s important to understand the varying strengths of each type of tank as well as the specificities of your setting to choose the best tank for your property.

What are Fire Protection Water Storage Tanks and What is Their Purpose?

Fire protection water storage tanks are an important part of fire suppression systems. They hold a large volume of water and are designed to release the water quickly and effectively to extinguish a fire. There are several types of fire protection tanks and each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

The Different Types of Fire Protection Tanks

There are several types of fire protection tanks, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Fiberglass is a popular choice for the following reasons:

  • A long lifespan
  • 12 times stronger than steel by weight
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Easy to transport and offload
  • Lower cost for large to medium volumes of water
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Fully customizable
  • UV stable and resistant to environmental exposure
  • Can be used above or below ground

Steel tanks are particularly ideal for those looking to store a rather large capacity of water for a reasonable price. With storage capacities ranging from 767 gallons to 442,000 gallons, steel tanks are frequently used in conjunction with automatic sprinkler systems to maintain facilities in line with industry norms.

Because underground fire protection tanks are most often composed of fiberglass, plastic, or concrete, they provide superior resistance to the elements, but for the same reasons, they also tend to be more expensive. If you are looking for a quick and easy installation, an above-ground storage tank may be the best option. However, if you are looking for a more durable option and are open to a more involved process, an underground fire protection tank may be the better choice.

How are Fire Protection Water Tanks Regulated?

Tanks used for fire protection are covered by the NFPA's fire code, which specifies design, construction, installation, and maintenance standards for tanks and accessory equipment that supply water for private fire protection. The NFPA 25 defines inspection requirements for water-based fire protection systems. The schedule for these inspections is as follows:

  • Fire-Water Tank Interior – Every 5 Years – Per 9.2.6.1.2
  • Fire-Water Tank Interior without Corrosion Protection – Every 3 Years – Per 9.2.6.1.1
  • Exterior of Fire Water Tank – Quarterly – Per 9.2.5.1

Who Needs Fire Protection Water Tanks?

The NFPA’S fire code requires fire protection water tanks in many commercial and industrial buildings, but the main factor regulating this additional storage will be the distance of your structure from a municipally-supplied water source and the availability of an adequate water supply near your location.

How Do Fire Protection Water Tanks Work?

Fire protection water tanks are distinct in that they are designed to hold a large volume of water and to release that water quickly and effectively to extinguish a fire. The water is held in the tank until it is needed, then released through fire hoses to the fire suppression system. According to the Fire Protection Research Foundation, the tank must provide water at a residual pressure of at least 20 PSI for a specified period defined by local jurisdictions.

The fire protection tank regulates the release of water so that it’s at a steady pace rather than all flowing out at once. This ensures the fire hose will not collapse under the weight of the water and that firefighters have enough water to extinguish the fire.

What Materials Are Used in Fire Protection Water Tanks?

Steel tanks are modular bolted designs that make installation a breeze and require no welding or field coating. They are made from galvanized corrugated steel and can withstand winds up to 165 mph, snow, and even seismic activity.

Fiberglass tanks are generally made from one of the following resins:

  • Orthophthalic Resin: General Purpose
  • Isophthalic Resin: Enhanced chemical resistance, tensile strength, durability and fatigue resistance
  • Vinyl Ester Resin Systems: Highest quality of chemical and heat resistance, therefore they are commonly used in industrial applications

Cost and Maintenance

How much does a fire protection water tank cost? How much a fire protection water tank costs will vary depending on the size and type of tank. Above ground storage tanks are less expensive than underground tanks, but they are more susceptible to damage so it’s important to consider the weather and conditions it will endure. 

Underground tanks are more expensive to install, but they offer better protection from environmental conditions. Maintenance requirements are specified by NFPA 25 and include inspecting above-ground tanks for deterioration as well as the flow rate of water in the tank and the level of deposits in the water.

Tank Depot's Fire Protection Water Tanks are the Best Option

Tank Depot has a wide selection of fire protection water tanks that are made from high-quality materials and meet all regulatory requirements. Our tanks are easy to install and require minimal maintenance, making them the best option for your fire protection needs. Contact us today for more help choosing your tank and for the lowest prices on the market.

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