simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Standpipe
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Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Standpipes are everywhere in New York City, yet very little attention is paid to them. And what do we really know about them? A standpipe is a rigid pipe which supplies water under pressure to a water supply and/or sprinkler system in the event of a fire. And why do we need them? Because it is not feasible to run hoses from the street up stairwells to upper floors of a tall building in a fire (there are over 1000 high rise buildings in NYC). With a standpipe system, water is fed from the street through the vertical piping - hoses are attached from outlets at each floor. There are dry and wet types - wet systems contain water at all times; dry systems contain no water - they may have their own source of water or be supplied by a firetruck in tandem with a fire hydrant. water can be supplied via water tanks, city main an/or hydrants and fire pumps. Siamese connections (shown in the photo) allow two hoses to be attached for increased capacity and provide backup if one is jammed or malfunctioning. There are a variety of styles of course. Conversation about these between a photographer friend and I eventually inspired him to go on a photo quest - click here for his collection. A Siamese connection provides ideal seating - but beware of standpipes with sawtooth type projections on top, which I assume acts as a deterrent. BTW, standpipes are needed not just for tall buildings but anywhere there is no access to firetrucks or where their is excessive distance to stretch hose lines: shopping malls, theaters, stadiums, arenas, parking garages, bridges, tunnels, highways, piers ...


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