What they are and how they work!

A dry riser is intended to extinguish a fire quickly, easily and with reduced hazards, and is generally used in buildings with multiple floors. A dry riser is a vertical supply pipe either internal or external to the building with outlet valves at each landing level accessible via steel cabinets on each floor. It will have an automatic air release valve at the highest point to enable the air to be expelled when the system is filled.

Dry Risers
Dry Risers

Every dry riser would have an inlet valve or breaching valve at the foot of each riser to allow the tank of the dry riser to be filled by the Fire Brigade.

The Fire rescue service will pressurise the dry riser from their appliance via the nearest external fire hydrant point. The volume and pressure of the water within the dry riser is regulated by the fire appliance to ensure the correct requirement is delivered at point of use.

Key Features

  • The main advantage of a dry riser or wet riser is to reduce the amount of firehose required by the Fire Brigade throughout the building. This in turn reduces any delays whilst firefighting, removes further hazards of trailing hoses during evacuation, reduces damage to the building and ultimately saves lives.
  • Once the fire is extinguished, a dry riser would be drained and left empty ready for future use.
  • A wet riser is similar in every respect to a dry riser however a wet riser remains connected to a permanent water supply generally fed by on site tank systems.


All wet and dry risers must be installed in accordance with British standards (BS9990: code of practice for non-automatic firefighting systems in buildings: 2015).

The external breaching box should be preferably a red lockable box marked 'Dry Riser Inlet'. These may also be installed using a stainless-steel finish. Any dry riser installation is required to have the inlet breaching valve box within 18 m of the appliance location. Distances further than this should have building control approval and ideally approval from the local fire brigade. The dry riser should be contained in a fire-resistant shaft or riser.

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