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Fire Department Water Supply

The effectiveness of fire suppression is directly related to the proper installation and maintenance of a fire department water supply system. The following information details the installation and maintenance of a fire department water supply system. 


2014 Oregon Fire Code as amended by the City of Hillsboro (COH) HMC 11.28.010 §105, 501, 507, Appendix B and C

2013 Edition of NFPA 13, 14 & 24

Oregon Revised Statue (ORS) 811.550(16)

2009 Edition of Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)

City of Hillsboro Public Works Design and Construction Standards


Guard Post – Protective barriers constructed of steel and concrete to provide vehicle impact protection.
Fire Flow –The flow rate of a water supply, measured at 20 pounds per square inch (psi) residual pressure, that is available for firefighting purposes.
Fire Protection Water Supplies – A system of water mains and appurtenances that supply firefighting and/or fire protection systems.
Public Hydrant – Fire hydrant installed and maintained by a water purveyor.
Private Hydrant – Fire hydrant that is located within the property line and is usually privately owned and maintained. Note: There are instances where onsite hydrants are publicly owned and maintained by a water purveyor.
Type of Construction – Determined by the Oregon Structural Specialty Code, Chapter 6.
Water Purveyor – The City of Hillsboro Water Department or Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD).

Fire Department Water Supply Plan Review 

Fire department water supply plan review begins with development review and continues through building permit review, including review of public infrastructure and private utility plans. When necessary, please provide the following for review:  (OFC 501.2. 501.3)

  • Site plan showing all structures, new and existing
  • Proposed streets, driveways, access roads, fencing, gates, and barriers
  • Hydraulic calculations showing minimum fire flow or automatic/manual fire protection system demand (whichever is greater) can be provided
  • Fire service mains (public and private), including thrust blocks and anchor points - size, class, location, depth of cover detail(s), applicable calculations, and manufacturer's specification sheets
  • Backflow prevention devices, control valves - size, type, location, and manufacturer's specification sheets 
  • Fire hydrants (public and private) - type, location, and manufacturer's specification sheets
  • Fire department connection (FDC)
  • Post indicator valve (PIV)
  • Other fire protection equipment   

Timing of Installation 

Fire protection water supplies shall be installed and made serviceable prior to construction or prior to combustible materials being moved onsite, unless an alternative method of protection is approved by the fire code official.  (OFC 501.4, 3312.1)

Water Supply Requirements

Fire Flow

Fire flow calculations per Oregon Fire Code, Appendix B shall be provided.  A reduction in fire flow of up to 50 percent is permitted for buildings with an approved fire sprinkler system.  A fire flow reduction for an automatic or manual fire alarm system is not permitted in the City of Hillsboro. The required fire flow will determine the number and placement of hydrants on the property per the Oregon Fire Code, Appendix C. (OFC 507.3, B105.3.1.2 (deleted) as amended by City of Hillsboro HMC 11.28.01)

Fire flow data can be requested from City of Hillsboro Water Department, (503) 615-6702 or Tualatin Valley Water District.  (OFC 903.3.5)

For your convenience, a fire flow and hydrant worksheet that automatically calculates the required fire flow and number of hydrants in accordance with the Hillsboro Municipal Code is available for download.  Please submit the completed worksheet through ProjectDox for all applicable permits. 


  • Hydrants shall be located such that no part of any building is more than 400 feet from a fire hydrant located along a fire apparatus access road, as measured by an approved route around the exterior of the building. The distance can be extended to 600 feet for Group R-3 and Group U occupancies.  The distance cannot be extended for buildings equipped with a fire sprinkler system in the City of Hillsboro.  (OFC 507.5, 507.5 Exception #2 (deleted) as amended by the City of Hillsboro HMC 11.28.010)     Approve Hydrant Type
  • Existing private hydrants on adjacent properties shall not be considered available unless fire apparatus access roads extend between properties and emergency access easements are established. (OFC C104.1)
  • Fire hydrants shall be located at least 40 feet from the building(s) to be protected. (NFPA 24 7.2.3)
  • Access to fire hydrants shall not be obstructed; plan location of landscaping, plants and shrubs accordingly. Provide 3-foot clear space around the circumference of fire hydrants, which includes vegetation, fences, utility poles, bollards and barricades.(OFC 507.5.4, 507.5.5)
  • Parking shall be prohibited within 10 feet of a fire hydrant. Where fire hydrants are subject to impact by a motor vehicle, approved protection shall be installed. (ORS 811.550(16), OFC 507.5.6)
  • Average spacing of hydrants is reduced by 150 feet for dead-end streets or roadways. (OFC Table C105.1)
  • Where new water mains are extended along streets where hydrants are not needed for protection of structures or similar fire problems, fire hydrants shall be provided at spacing not to exceed 1,000 feet to provide for transportation hazards. (OFC Table C105.1)
  • Hydrants shall be required on both sides of public streets whenever one or more of the following conditions exist (OFC Appendix C Table C105.1, C105.2 as amended by the City of Hillsboro HMC 11.28.010):
    • Streets have median center dividers that make access to hydrants difficult, cause time delay, or create undue hazard or both.
    • When there are four or more lanes of traffic and a traffic count of more than 30,000 vehicles per day (examples: 185th Ave, Brookwood Pkwy, Cornelius Pass Rd, Cornell Rd, and Tualatin Valley Hwy).
    • Width of the street is in excess of 88 feet.
    • The existing street will be widened or have a raised median center divider in the future, pursuant to the City of Hillsboro Transportation System Plan

    Hydrant Markers   

    Blue reflective markers shall be provided on the roadway to identify fire hydrant locations. The markers shall be secured to the roadway perpendicular to the hydrant and as follows (City of Hillsboro Public Works Design & Construction Standards (Drawing 550-4), MUTCD 1A.08):

    • On roadways without center stripes, the blue markers shall be set in the center of the roadway.
    • On undivided, striped roadways, blue markers shall be set 6 inches to the hydrant side of the center stripe.
    • On divided roadways, the blue markers shall be set 6 inches to the side of the lane striping that is closest to the hydrant.

    Backflow Prevention

    Installation shall comply with City of Hillsboro Public Works Design & Construction Standards (Drawing 640-5A, 5B, 5C) or Tualatin Valley Water District Water System Design and Construction Standards (Detail 801).  (OFC 903.3.5)

    Fire Department Connection (FDC)


    • The FDC shall be located on the address side of the building unless otherwise approved by the fire code official and the inlets shall face the fire department apparatus access road .  (OFC 903.3.7, NFPA 13
    • The FDC shall be located with respect to driveways so fire apparatus and hose connected to supply the system will not obstruct access to the building for other fire apparatus. (OFC 912.2)Wall Mounted Fire Department Connection and Post Indicator Valve
    • The FDC shall be installed on the system side of the indicating valves. No shutoff valve shall be permitted in the piping from the FDC to the point that the FDC piping connects to the system piping. (NFPA 13, NFPA 14 6.4.1, NFPA 24
    • The FDC shall be located within 100 feet of a public hydrant, or private hydrant that is isolated from the FDC to prevent circular water flow. (OFC 507.5.1.1as amended by the City of Hillsboro HMC 11.28.010)
    • The FDC shall be located at least 40 feet from the building being protected.
      Exception: When FDCs cannot be installed with the required clearance, the code official may approve a reduced distance or approve a wall mounted FDC.  (OFC 912.2, NFPA 13, NFPA 24
    • A minimum of 3 feet of working clearance shall be maintained around a remote FDC. A minimum working clearance around a wall mounted FDC shall be not less than 36 inches in width, 36 inches in depth, and 78 inches in height.  (OFC 912.3.2)
    • The FDC shall be protected when placed in locations subject to impact by motor vehicles. (OFC 507.5.6, 912.3.3)


    • The number and size of FDC inlets shall be determined by the fire sprinkler and/or standpipe demand.
      • An FDC for a fire sprinkler system shall consist of two 2 1/2 inch connections.  (NFPA 13 6.8.1)
      • Standpipe systems shall be provided with one 2 1/2 inch inlet per every 250 gpm demand.  (NFPA 14 7.12.3)     
    • The pipe between the check valve and outside hose coupling shall have an approved automatic drip and shall be installed in a location that permits inspection and testing.  (NFPA 24           
    • The FDC check valve shall be accessible. Check valves shall not be buried and vaults shall be of adequate size to allow for maintenance.  (NFPA 13 
    • The FDC shall be located not less than 18 inches nor more than 48 inches above grade surface. (NFPA 14 6.4.6)
    • The FDC shall be equipped with Knox Plugs (see Knox Systems Installations standard for detailed information). (OFC 912.3.1 as amended by City of Hillsboro HMC 11.28.01)


    • A metal sign with raised letters at least 1 inch in size shall be mounted on all FDCs and read AUTOMATIC SPRINKLERS OR STANDPIPES OR TEST CONNECTION or a combination thereof. (OFC 912.4, NFPA 13, NFPA 14, NFPA 24
    • Where the system demand pressure exceeds 150 psi, the sign shall indicate the required pressure. (NFPA 13, NFPA 24
    • Where an FDC serves multiple buildings or only a portion of a building a sign shall be attached indicating the buildings or portion of the building served.  (NFPA 13, NFPA 14, NFPA 24
    • Hillsboro Fire and Rescue will apply the numerical address of the building(s) served by the FDC with numbers and/or letters at least 2 inches tall and ½ inch wide stroke on a contrasting background. The FDC will also be marked with one or more of the following colors of reflective tape: blue when supplying fire sprinkler systems, red when supplying standpipe systems and yellow when supplying private fire service hydrants. Contact the Fire Prevention Division at (503) 681-6166 at the time of the fire service underground final to schedule the application of the FDC markings.      

    Post Indicator Valve (PIV) 

    • All valves controlling connections to water supplies and to supply pipes to sprinklers shall be listed indicating valves. (NFPA 24 6.1.1)
    • A PIV shall be installed not less than 40 feet from the protected building, unless an alternative design is approved by the fire code official.  (NFPA 24 6.2.11)       
    • The installation height of the PIV shall be 32 to 40 inches above the final grade. (NFPA 24 6.3.1, NFPA 13       
    • When there is more than one fire sprinkler protected building on a common fire protection system, each building shall have a separate outside indicating valve, unless approved by the fire code official. (NFPA 24 6.2.11, NFPA 13
    • A minimum of 3 feet of working clearance shall be maintained around the PIV. (OFC 509.2, NFPA 24 6.2.10)
    • The PIV shall be electrically supervised by a listed fire alarm control unit per the Oregon Fire Code. A padlock is not sufficient for securing a valve controlling the water supply to a sprinkler system. (OFC 903.4)     
    • A remote PIV shall have a breakaway padlock securing the removable handled.  A wall mounted PIV shall have a chain and lock to prevent tampering.