Healthy Hydrants Guidelines
Fire can doubles in size about every 15 to
120 seconds (source)
before fire department intervention. A two minute delay could mean the fire is 8 times
Does your hydrant work? Does you backup hydrant work?
a property owner it is Better
that your backup fire hydrant and your primary fire hydrant
are in good working order than to leave it to someone else.
A fire hydrant is more complicated than what
you might expect. Regular inspections and maintenance of
fire hydrants by the fire department or water department are
essential to ensure adequate water resources during fire and
other related emergencies. If a fire hydrant malfunctions or
becomes inaccessible, fire department operations may be
As a property owner
it is typically your responsibility to maintain the proper clearance around a
hydrant. Pictured below is a typical clearance specification,
but you should check with you local department for its specific
requirements. If your area uses a dry hydrant*** (pictured
right), use a similar specification and be aggressive to
ensure the clearance specification is in compliance.
If your hydrant is not on your
property and you see
that clearance is not properly maintained, be assertive and
insist that it be visible at all times.
Call the fire department and ask that they talk with the
property owner about the oversight. Consider appropriate markings for heavy snow country.
The hydrant is paid for by your taxes. Your municipal water supplier provides the water, but who is
responsible for the good working order of the hydrant? Most
likely your local Fire Department or Water Department is responsible for
inspections, flushing, flow testing and lubrication of the
external fittings. The municipal water supplier is most
likely responsible for repairs and replacements.
However, fire and water departments are not typically
responsible for private hydrants. Private hydrants may
have a color different than the municipal hydrants, and can be located in subdivisions, condos, retirement
communities, apartment centers, private roads, etc.
Learn if you have public or private hydrants and
verify who is responsible for maintenance. Ask when your
hydrant was last flushed and maintained. Be persistent !
If you see an "Out Of Service" ring or a bag covering a
hydrant, be persistent in calling to have
Never operate the hydrant
yourself. As surprising as this may be, you can easily damage the hydrant
and/or the municipal water lines by improper operation.
***A dry hydrant is
a non-pressurized pipe system that is
permanently installed below the freeze line into lakes,
ponds, streams, and other water sources to provide water for
fire-fighting. Since there is no water pressure within the
pipe, it is called "dry." In many rural areas, obtaining
water for fire-fighting is difficult due to the lack of
water mains and domestic supply. Dry hydrant installation
improves rural fire protection by allowing fire trucks to
access nearby water sources instead of trucking water long
distances, thus saving time and property.