How Often Is Fire Hydrant Testing Necessary in {City}?

How Often Is Fire Hydrant Testing Necessary?

There are millions of calls a year to fire departments across the United States.

In response to a distress call, firefighters arrive on the scene with a firetruck and water supply, but this supply will quickly run dry. So, an external water source is almost always required to continue dousing the flames. Firefighters will turn their attention to the nearest fire hydrant.

To protect your building from a fire, you need to make sure that there is an accessible hydrant in the immediate vicinity of your property. Without regular fire hydrant testing and maintenance, your hydrant may let you down at the moment you need it most.

Why Fire Hydrants Are Important

The most obvious and important job of a hydrant is its role in fire suppression. Fire engines only have a limited reservoir of water, yet the quantity required to put out a large fire definitely exceeds this. The fire department responding to a fire needs easy and efficient access to high-pressure water supply mains (which a hydrant provides).

Types of Hydrants

There are two types of fire hydrants. You need to know which type you have before you can check to see if it is working correctly.

Dry hydrants not only automatically drain after their use, but have main valves that are located underground. Since the shut-off valve is safely located here, there’s no danger of the hydrant freezing in the winter (or, if you live in a generally cold region, during a majority of the year), which would render it useless in a time of need.

Alternatively, wet barrel hydrants have valves located above ground, meaning that water is inside the barrel itself at all times. The barrel, you may or may not know, is within the familiar sidewalk hydrant device you’re used to. Because the system is entirely above ground, a wet barrel hydrant is more easily accessible and maintainable. However, such a device is in danger of freezing in cold climates or during harsh winters. You’ll find wet barrels are more common in more temperate or warm climates.

Fire Hydrant Testing

You never know when you are going to need a fire hydrant, so it must always be operational and ready to use at a moment’s notice. By regularly checking and performing maintenance on your hydrant, you can deal with any problems before they become serious. This should form part of your regular fire prevention checks.

The National Fire Protection Association has produced a standard for maintaining private hydrants. This prescribes annual fire hydrant testing at the least, as well as testing after each individual hydrant use. As a property owner, you can and need to look for and/or examine the following:

  • Inaccessibility to the hydrant
  • Leaks in outlets or on top of the hydrant
  • Cracks in the hydrant barrel
  • Tightness of outlet caps
  • Worn outlet threads
  • Worn hydrant operating nut
  • Availability of an operating wrench on site

A specialist will be able to perform a flow test, which will involve opening the hydrant’s barrel, letting a heavy stream of pressurized water out, and using a hydraulic pressure gauge to ensure that the hydrant’s capable of an adequate flow.

Protection Against Fire

Fire hydrants perform vital functions and, as such, need to be kept in good working order.

By checking your hydrant at least once every year and after every use, you can protect it from failing when you need it most, should that moment ever arise.

Fire hydrant testing only forms one part of your fire protection system. In order to make sure you’re fully protected, contact us at Crisp-LaDew. We have been installing and maintaining fire safety systems for the last 81 years and are honored to say that we continue to lead the industry in experience, competence, and reputation. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!