Frequently Asked Questions
FARS are building-installed standpipes that deliver breathing air. They provide firefighters with a quick, safe, reliable, and constant source of air. Firefighters can refill their air bottles at filling stations located throughout a building during emergency operations while under full respiration.
It takes less than two minutes to refill an air bottle.
During the construction process, FARS installers pull seamless stainless steel tubing up through stairway shafts. The tubing is protected by two-hour fire enclosures. Depending on the preference of the authority having jurisdiction, air-filling stations are located at various locations in designated stairways or in air resource closets (every three floors is a common requirement). FARS can also be retrofitted into existing buildings.
The air-fill stations can be simple high-pressure hoses or rupture-protection enclosures, each of which can fill two air bottles in two minutes or less. In the first stages of firefighting, the air supply comes from large H bottles located in an air resource room, normally on the ground floor of the building. Later, air is supplied by a fire department's mobile air unit.
No. FARS are installed in mid-rises, high-rises, tunnels, ships, big box-style structures, underground structures, and mega-buildings. All of these structures present unique logistical challenges to firefighters for the delivery of air.
Every authorized FARS is monitored on a 24-7-365 basis for carbon monoxide, air pressure, and moisture levels. Testing and certification are typically performed on a quarterly basis. A recent study of nearly 7,000 air quality reports on FARS systems over a 7-year period found that the air in FARS exceeds NFPA 1989 standards. In fact, FARS air quality was more compliant with NFPA 1989 standards than non-FARS fire department compressed breathing air samples.
FARS uses air from large, commercial air bottles found in the air supply room of the building or from a fire department's mobile air unit. The system is pressurized constantly, making the air immediately available to first responders. The air is delivered to each air-fill panel through continuous (not welded) seamless stainless-steel tubing, like those used in medical gas systems found in hospitals and clinics.
FARS don’t impact fire department budgets. When a system is required by a local fire code, a building owner/operator pays for installation and maintenance, just as they do with other building-installed fire protection equipment such as sprinkler systems and fire alarms. The only cost to a local fire department will be to train personnel on how to use the system. Training is quick, efficient, and can be easily integrated into current training programs.