Even though fire hydrants are small, colorful and funny looking, they are one of the most important parts of the neighborhood. They are the access points for firefighters when a fire occurs! Although you may know what fire hydrants do, there is a lot more to know about how they work and why they are important.
Fire hydrants have access to the water supply in the neighborhood. They have enough water pressure to propel water through a fire engine’s pump when the firefighters hook up a hose to the hydrant. It takes a special wrench to access the water and let it start spraying.
Although the hydrant is fairly simple to use, it requires testing every few years to ensure that it is working properly. A fire hydrant flow test is used to test the pressure and determine if it can be used by firefighters or can service a building.
Before hydrants, putting out fires was a lot harder. The bucket system was the only method of transporting water from one place to another, which wasn’t nearly efficient as a continuous, pressurized stream of water.
That’s why it’s important to care for hydrants and keep them functioning well. Because fires are never expected, avoid blocking fire hydrants and park your car at least 15 feet away.
Depending on your neighborhood, you may see red, yellow or even blue fire hydrants. The color of the hydrant represents the different amount of gallons per minute. This helps firefighters know which hydrants should be used in a fire. Red has the lowest GPM and blue has the highest.
Some hydrants are different colors to represent something else, such as purple for water that comes from a lake. Either way, these colors also help firefighters easily recognize hydrants when they need them.
Fire hydrants are important and useful. Next time you see a fire hydrant, avoid parking too close!