Fire hydrants are crucial pieces of safety equipment that can often be taken for granted. When there is a fire, however, firefighters must have easy access to working hydrants with adequate water pressure. While each municipality will have different regulations for inspections and maintenance, the basic tasks performed each time are the same.
Most cities will require that fire hydrants be inspected at least twice a year to ensure that they are not damaged and all the parts work. The inspector will look for leaks at the seals and physical damage such as cracks or signs of impact. Hydrants that have been hit by a vehicle can be knocked completely off their line, causing a geyser of water, or the impact can crack or loosen parts of the hydrant in less noticeable ways. The inspector will then use a valve maintenance system to turn the hydrant on or off, checking for pressure and valve stiffness.
Hydrant inspectors will make a list of needed repairs to submit with the report so that maintenance personnel can source any needed parts and schedule the work. Most repairs on fire hydrants are a simple exchange of parts; for instance, operating nuts with rounded corners that are difficult to use with a key may need to be replaced so firefighters can quickly and easily operate the hydrant. Other maintenance tasks require waterlines to be turned off, drained and replaced. For example, if the hydrant needs to be raised for ease of access, the line needs to be relieved of pressure and the hydrant removed to add an extension pipe.
Fire hydrants provide water to firetrucks and need to be well-maintained so that they are easy to use and access when needed. Inspectors will examine these units once or twice a year for wear and tear as well as accidental damage or illegal use.