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What is a Dry Riser?

A key feature of fire protection systems across the world, dry risers are installed with the purpose of supplying water to multiple floors of buildings quickly and easily.

The reason it is called a ‘dry’ riser is that there is no water in the pipe; the pipe is filled with compressed air which prevents water entering the pipe unless a fire activates one of the sprinklers. Alternatively, should a fire break out, a fire engine can connect a hose to the dry riser and pump water up to the desired level.

The inlet for the dry riser is visible on the outside of the building at ground level. This is for connecting to the fire engine and it also contains a drain that allows any excess water to be removed after it has been used, and also for preventing the vandalism of the connection itself. Conversely, the outlets are found inside the building and are also contained within protective casing that must be broken or opened with a key in the event of an emergency.

Dry risers are by far the most efficient way to get water to floors in buildings with multiple levels. When compared to the time and effort it would take to run a hose up and down stairs, there is a vast amount of time saved which could avert a disaster. They come with a number of advantages as well as speed – they are easily installed in buildings, requiring no special equipment or facilities and they do not need the structure or design of the building to be altered.

There are a number of requirements that must be met regarding dry risers:

  • They must have fire appliance within 18m of the dry riser inlet box
  • One must be provided for every 900m2 of floor area at each level other than ground
  • They must not be more than 60m apart in a horizontal direction
  • No part of any floor area must be more than 60m from an outlet

There is an alternative to a dry riser known as a ‘wet riser’, which serves the same purpose but the pipes that are usually filled with compressed air are filled with water. It is vitally important that all multi-level buildings have a dry or wet riser correctly installed and maintained; speed is obviously key when it comes to tackling fires and the use of a riser can be of a huge benefit in this department.

As one of the UK’s leading independent fire protection companies, City Fire have years of experience in the installation, maintenance and repair of a range of fire safety equipment, including dry risers. If you would like to know more about our dry riser services, or for anything else we offer, get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help.

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