I’m sure that only a few people know the different types of fire hydrants that exist. Did you know that you can identify the water’s flow intensity by color?
Firefighters use fire hydrants to get water from the public’s water supply. These lifesaving devices are put strategically around the city or town to supply the water they need to save people’s lives.
The following guide will teach fire hydrants’ importance, compositions, materials, colors, and more.
What is a Fire Hydrant
A fire hydrant is a lifesaving tool composed of a valve and a pipe. It allows for a constant flow of water in case of an emergency in the city.
This device is a visible point of firefighters’ hydrant system to get water from the city’s supply.
The city must install fire hydrants in front of mines, parking lots, buildings, and industrial zones. Building them provides a safety net in case of a fire emergency. They also need two or more outlets to allow firefighters to connect enough hoses that provide a minimum of 250 gallons per minute.
Water pressure may vary depending on the source of the hydrant. For example, it may be pressurized when connected to the water main buried in the street. In contrast, those linked to a nearby pond or cistern may not be.
In the case of pressurized hydrants, these will have two or more valves to control the water flow better. Depending on the water pressure it can provide, they will also have a particular color.
While these devices are critical to providing water in an emergency, some people think they can use them to fill their pools.
What Are Fire Hydrants Made Of?
Each part of the fire hydrant can be designed in a specific material, depending on the type of hydrant.
- Hydrant Barrel: The hydrant cylinder contains a cast or ductile iron. Other hydrants of this same type are bronze.
- Hydrant Valve: Most of the time, it contains steel.
- Hydrant Outlets: The bronze outlets are threaded into the barrel only when the hydrant barrel is ductile iron or cast. The outlets are part of the barrel. In the case of the hydrant’s barrel, it’s bronze.
- Hydrant Valves, seals, and gaskets: These parts have different synthetic rubbers like styrene-butadiene, chloroprene, urethane, and butadiene acrylonitrile.
What is a Hydrant System
The hydrant system is a network of pipes and valves transporting water from a water source to the fire hydrant.
The hydrant system is composed of:
- Water mains are the large metal pipes that transport water
- Fire hydrants are devices that firefighters use to get water from the water supply
- Hydrant valves control the flow of water from the water central to the fire hydrants
- Water service networks are the systems that connect the water mains to houses and businesses
Types of Fire Hydrants
You must know that two main fire hydrants exist: Wet Barrel hydrants and Dry Barrel Hydrants.
Wet Barrel Hydrant
It is a type of hydrant used in places where the temperature is not enough to generate freezing. These devices are susceptible to the cold and serve in areas where the main supply is near the surface.
Dry Barrel Hydrant
The dry barrel hydrant is the counterpart to the previously mentioned one. Due to its characteristics, it can withstand low temperatures. In addition, they can withstand low temperatures because their water source is further from the surface.
What Are Their Differences
There are three main differences between these two types of hydrants.
- Dry Barrel hydrants can resist low temperatures.
- Dry barrel hydrants are more expensive than wet barrel hydrants.
- Wet barrel hydrants are easier to maintain in comparison with dry barre hydrants.
Curious note: Europe and Asia have had underground fire hydrants since the 18th century. Pillar-type hydrants appear starting from the 19th century and forward.
Fire Hydrant Color Meaning
- The blue color means the hydrant can provide 1500 gallons per minute and excellent flow quality.
- The green color means the hydrant can provide 1000 gallons per minute and good flow quality.
- Orange means the hydrant can provide between 500 and 999 gallons per minute. However, water’s flow quality is marginally adequate.
- Red is the least desirable color, meaning the hydrant can only provide less than 499 gallons per minute, with a terrible water flow quality.
How to Open a Hydrant
1. Locate the fire hydrant. Most cases, the hydrant will be easy to find near the street. However, you can always call your local water department for assistance if you are unsure of its location.
2. Once you have located the hydrant, you must identify the valve. It is usually at the base and controls the water’s flow.
3. To open the hydrant, turn the valve clockwise. You may need to use a wrench to help you turn the valve.
4. Once the hydrant is open, water will begin to flow from the hydrant.
Remember that the valve doesn’t necessarily throttle the water’s output. Therefore, you should be mindful not to open a hydrant too quickly or risk damaging your nearby equipment.
Fire hydrants are an essential part of the cityscape and play a vital role in keeping people safe. They are part of a more extensive system called Hydrant System.
There are two main kinds of hydrants: Wet Barrel and Dry Barrel. The city may paint both of them red (less than 500 GPM), orange (500-999 GPM), green (1000 GPM), and blue (1500 GPM).
As a firefighter, you are ready to make better decisions and share this information with others!