First flush sends up a geyser
AFD Fire Prevention officer Mike Roy and UMass Fire Prevention Services Supervisor Mike Swain were on scene this morning for a flushing and inspection of the water system which ties in to the sprinklers at the new Olympia Oaks affordable housing development which is scheduled for a ribbon cutting ceremony next week.
AFD does not currently have the proper equipment to do the sprinkler test so they borrow a unit from nearby UMass. Just as AFD is almost always assisted by APD for emergency calls in town, anytime they are dispatched to the UMass campus, Environmental Health Services shows up to assist.
UMass does not have its own Fire Department but does have Fire & Safety Services
The "Hose Monster" costs around $1,300 and the readout gauge and coupler adds another $500.
After the system is first flushed out for pebbles or other debris (which could possibly jam in the head of a sprinkler and cut off the water flow) the gauge is attached and another measurement taken with full water running.
Both buildings tested at over 42.5 on the picot scale which translates to over 250 gallons per minute flow rate, enough to pass state regulations. With today's test completed, 15 of 17 buildings have been tested and they all passed.
AFD inspector Mike Roy reading the Pitot Gage
Today's test was just for the underground water system as it comes into each building. The above ground sprinkler test of all outlets inside the building is an additional inspection that also costs $125 per building plus 5 cents per square foot.
Some units are much farther along than others
Sprinkler systems combined with smoke detectors makes for a formidable defense against fire. The most recent Amherst fire fatality occurred last year at Rolling Green Apartments, which did not have a sprinkler system.