1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Wheaton IL
    Posts
    1,767

    Default Fake Hydrant Frustrates West Virginia Firefighters

    DAVIS CREEK, W.Va. -- In an emergency every second counts, but valuable time was wasted Tuesday when firefighters were left high and dry trying to hook up to a hydrant that turned out to be fake.

    Firefighters are still trying to figure out why the hydrant was there. They said some people use them as decoration, but also said it could be used to defraud their insurance company.

    It created a very dangerous situation, though, Tuesday morning in Davis Creek. Fire Chief Jeff Snodgrass said his firefighters spent about 15 minutes hooking up to the hydrant and the had to unhook and switch gears to haul in the water.

    He said the problem is created because not all hydrants look alike -- ones operated by West Virginia American Water are all blue and white. But private hydrants in subdivisions and installed by home owners can be any color of the rainbow.

    "People install these for decoration or for the convenience of their pets," Snodgrass said. "If the fire department is not notified about it, to us -- even our trained eye -- this fire hydrant looks like a real true fire hydrant."

    Now the West Virginia Legislature is efforting a bill that would require all non-working hydrants to be identified by painting the hydrant black or putting a tarp over it if it's not working.

    The fire department is still trying to figure exactly why that fire hydrant was there. And, so far, they don't know how the fire started. No one was home at the time.

    Are you kidding me? This isn't a volly vs full time thing,
    firefighters spent about 15 minutes hooking up to the hydrant
    I know what they should do for drill for the next few meeting nights. Their is no excuse for being thrown off your game that much by one bad hydrant. Scarry, very scarry.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Greensboro, NC USA
    Posts
    1,312

    Default

    I have a fake hydrant in my front yard.

    But it's 10' from my front door, and about 50' from the street, clearly not an operating hydrant. Plus mine is solid red, my local uses yellow & white.
    The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. --Norman Mattoon Thomas, 6 time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northeast Coast
    Posts
    3,867

    Default

    Brings up a good point. How many of your FD's still open the plug before committing to it? We have an SOP that before making the connection the hydrant must be flowed to ensure its operation and the barrel is clear, but for a long time it was rarely carried out. One bad hydrant and bad lay reinforced the policy. Of course this doesn't work out as well with a forward lay, but at least you know somethings F***ed before you start on tank water expecting the supply.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Brings up a good point. How many of your FD's still open the plug before committing to it? We have an SOP that before making the connection the hydrant must be flowed to ensure its operation and the barrel is clear, but for a long time it was rarely carried out. One bad hydrant and bad lay reinforced the policy. Of course this doesn't work out as well with a forward lay, but at least you know somethings F***ed before you start on tank water expecting the supply.
    We always flow a hydrant before laying in. We try to beat it into everyone from the first day they join the department. Do people forget in the heat of the moment? Yes, but rarely. More often than not, the driver will take off see second he sees the hydrant wrapped before the guy even has a chance to get the cap off. Again, heat of the moment, but bad nonetheless.

    The fifteen minutes they are describing probably DID happen if the driver started laying in 5" and then they had to repack the whole bed only to re-lay at another hydrant. That could take 15 minutes...easy.

    Our hydrant wrenches are all attached to the 5" in a bag. In order to get the wrench, you have to pull the 5" out to the ground and open the bag. The next logical step would be to open the hydrant before touching the hose again, but what people do is pull the line to the hydrant since they are going there anyway and while it's in their hand, they end up not putting it down and wrap it in one shot.

    Driver pulls off.

    The solution is to have a wrench NOT in the bag, but on the back of the truck (or even in the cab). Then, you'll have guys jumping out without a wrench I suppose. Well, you can't fix stupid!

  5. #5
    Some Guy

    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    I don't know but I here laughing.
    Posts
    1,001

    Default

    Know your 1st due.
    This space for rent

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Wheaton IL
    Posts
    1,767

    Default

    We almost always reverse out so if we hit a bad hydrant and are flowing water we are stuck and it is the second due engine to make sure he gets us water.. My pt gig has LDH but we rarely forward in. Is it common if you hit a bad hydrant to repack the rig then try again? To me it would make sense to just leave it start with tank water and have the second due take care of it. Because of bad hydrants we usually start (and often finish) the attack with tank water and our second due or the tender gets us water.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    TEXAS GULF COAST
    Posts
    111

    Default

    we had a similiar thing happen once.
    the operation went like this, two engines respond to structure fire, both stop at hydrant, second engine gets out grabs supply hose and wraps around hydrant and first engine takes off to fire. first engine goes to fire dropping supply line the entire way. well when the second engine goes to flush the hydrant he figures out it is a fake, but we now had a few hundred feet of hose out. he radios to first engine about the situation, and then he goes and finds another hydrant, and runs a line to the fire while the first engine is packing thiers up. the homeowner of the fake hydrant claimed it was for her dog and she was heavily ticketed. that was 5 or so years ago and since then we made it an sop to make sure it is a working hydrant before any hose is layed from it to the fire.
    Puttin the wet stuff on the red stuff!

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Lusby, MD
    Posts
    1,035

    Default

    Almost had that happen once. A particular house has decorative hydrants out front. Our department knew that, but the second due didn't and stated that they were picking up our line and had the hydrant. I was able to inform them that it was not real and to set up a tanker shuttle.

    I hate to say it, but a bad hydrant would slow us down a little. Fortunately we are used to running tanker shuttles so we should be able to adapt quickly. I would hope we wouldn't spend 15 mins messing with the bad hydrant, but unfortunately that depends on who is on the engine.

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Memphis Tn,USA-now
    Posts
    5,436

    Default

    Shouldn't decorative hydrants be marked in a fashion OTHER than how the local FD does theirs?If your department or water service(whoever services them) paints active hydrants red,silver,purple,or Realtree(tm) Woodland camo,doesn't it follow logic to paint a color that no one would EVER connect with a viable hydrant?
    Memphis has out of service hydrants marked with signs that say so.I am sure that some smart officers check routinely in their districts to make sure they know where the foul balls are.
    Just because my old department has the hydrants marked on maps and GPS units doesn't mean everyone else's does.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    snowball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Just North of South Central
    Posts
    2,740

    Default

    We inspect and flow hydrants in our first in district twice a year. If a particular hydrant is OOS it gets logged into the MDT and a hydrant sheet is generated. If a fire comes in near an OOS hydrant that hydrant location will start blinking red on the screen indicating OOS. The only person who can change the status of an OOS hydrant is the 1st in company. This is done after a physical inspection and flow test.
    IAFF

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    MasterMerlin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    West Virginia
    Posts
    91

    Default

    First off Davis Creek isn't any where near me, but I do want to offer some insight on what was mentioned.

    First off, West Virgina Water is not the best company to deal with. Granted they have placed a lot of lines through my area so my first due is probably 95% on the water system. After they first started putting in the new lines, we would flow them to check the GPM etc. Not long after we were told by WVW that we "were not allowed to flow check the hydrants" due to unnecessary water waste. We were also told that they, WWW, would check the hydrants and send us a copy. Well needless to say I have yet to receive a copy. When they threaten you with paying for the water you use to flow test, it becomes easy to see why small departments in WV don't flow test their hydrants.

    To also touch on what someone said about the second due, it could easily be 15 plus minutes before they arrive. Here again I don't know this department but I'm vaguely familuar with the general area.

    WV is famous for one lane roads that run for miles up a "holler", especially in coal towns.

    Just my .01 from WV.
    Last edited by MasterMerlin; 02-20-2009 at 01:01 PM. Reason: Grammer
    ****************************** **********
    It's a jungle out there. You have to watch out for number 1, but be careful not to step in number 2! - Rodney Dangerfield

    Some people are like slinkies, not really good for anything but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.

    Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,685

    Default

    We have 2 or 3 decorative hydrants in my town. Hard to confuse them as a real hydrant being that they are not connected to anything. If you put a hydrant wrench on top and turn it, the whole hydrant spins.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    len1582's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    N.J.
    Posts
    1,392

    Default

    ....Not long after we were told by WVW that we "were not allowed to flow check the hydrants" due to unnecessary water waste.....

    I'd say F...them. They're not inside working off a tank.

    We instill, practically beat into, all new guys to flush each hydrant before hooking to it. It's not unusual for us to have one dead, snapped stem, frozen or full of debris. Two weeks ago my driver opened one that apparently had been leaking at the connection to the main and filled the barrel during a nasty cold snap. Under the cap was a solid block of ice. You have to check them first. If there's something not right, just move on to the next and hope for the best.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber
    efd702's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    8

    Default

    I'm glad we don't have too many fake hydrants in our district, but I would like to think that our guys would move on after finding out that the hydrant wasn't in operation. About 70% of the time when we use a hydrant we'll be filling a tanker for a shuttle anyway. Although something like this could happen to anyone, hopefully it wouldn't take fifteen minutes to resolve. However, like someone else stated, if they had already pulled 5" off the truck, it could very well take that long (or longer) to regroup depending on the amount of manpower available.

  15. #15
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Sounds like a training issue. We hit a second alarm on an appartment fire last night. One of the engines tried to lay, what turned out to be a dry hydrant. They continued their attack using booster tank while someone hand jacked line to another hydrant up the street. Why the big delay at the OP's fire? We still must have at least 500 gals. on the rig right? That's plenty to start the attack. That is the point of the booster tank on the engine! What's the deal. I agree that dry plugs are a problem or decorative plugs are a problem, but shouldn't we, as proffesionals, be able to deal with this situation when faced with it? BTW "proffesionals" include anyone with training. Come on guys... lets get it together.

    EDIT*** BTW there was no delay on the attack by the rig that found the dry plug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by lafrance4078; 02-20-2009 at 03:40 PM.

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    CaptOldTimer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 1999
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    7,256

    Default

    From the article these guys weren't sure whos plug this was. It didn't look like the ones they were use to, BUT, the water department could have planted some new ones that they may not have been aware of. Having said that, if they knew thier hydrants they wouldn't have make this one. Looks to me they need to get out and check their hydrants more to know where they are.

    I have a active hydrant in front of my house across the street and an not in service one in the flower bed next to the house.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  17. #17
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    NSW, Australia
    Posts
    40

    Default Aussie perspective

    We always flow our hydrants, both to see if they work and to get rid of any of the built up muck sitting in the line. This is taught to all in recruit school.

    Most of the time the cap comes off of the hole, we have to clean the hole of dirt as ours are in the ground, put the standpipe in the hole, screw it down and then flush the standpipe, hook up the line, wait for the other end to hook up and then flow the line.

    Will get pics if people want to see how it works

  18. #18
    Good thing's happening

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    NYC to NC to NY
    Posts
    486

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hairyman View Post
    We always flow our hydrants, both to see if they work and to get rid of any of the built up muck sitting in the line. This is taught to all in recruit school.

    Most of the time the cap comes off of the hole, we have to clean the hole of dirt as ours are in the ground, put the standpipe in the hole, screw it down and then flush the standpipe, hook up the line, wait for the other end to hook up and then flow the line.

    Will get pics if people want to see how it works
    I would like to see pics or a vid if you don't mind.

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Memphis Tn,USA-now
    Posts
    5,436

    Default

    Training question:Your rigs hold 500 gallons,right?
    Even at 100 gpm,how long will you have to put water on the fire and how long would you want to wait after your hose runs dry while you are inside as the other guys set up the portapond and shuttle runs?
    Just because my old outfit might not go interior until there is a viable hydrant supplying the engine doesn't mean there aren't other departments that consider using tanks on interior attacks to be a good idea.
    Just having 500 gallons on hand with no more to be had makes even me nervous.I am of the opinion that you can never have enough water to put down a fire until you know that it is down.


    Quote Originally Posted by lafrance4078 View Post
    Sounds like a training issue. We hit a second alarm on an appartment fire last night. One of the engines tried to lay, what turned out to be a dry hydrant. They continued their attack using booster tank while someone hand jacked line to another hydrant up the street. Why the big delay at the OP's fire? We still must have at least 500 gals. on the rig right? That's plenty to start the attack. That is the point of the booster tank on the engine! What's the deal. I agree that dry plugs are a problem or decorative plugs are a problem, but shouldn't we, as proffesionals, be able to deal with this situation when faced with it? BTW "proffesionals" include anyone with training. Come on guys... lets get it together.

    EDIT*** BTW there was no delay on the attack by the rig that found the dry plug!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by doughesson; 02-21-2009 at 11:51 AM.

  20. #20
    Forum Member
    johnny46's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    2,094

    Default

    All I know is this would never happen to paid, union firemen who did not stop for green lights while on emergency runs and made attacks on houses that did not for absolutely certain have people inside while praying to God and voting Republican, who also carried guns on the apparatus and were masked up prior to arrival.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

  21. #21
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    The Nice Part of New Jersey
    Posts
    6,981

    Default

    We have a whole development with "fake" hydrants.

    Seems the developer knew that you could get credit for having hydrants, and the town thought they'd eventually add a public water system.

    Nope, 35 years and still waiting. They are just stuck in the ground.

    Of course, we make sure they are painted black.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  22. #22
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Eaglesrule....
    Here are some pictures of our Hydrants and the standpipes we use in Australia, when shipped we attach a 1 into 2 breeching piece to allow 2 70mm hoses to draw from the 1 hydrant.

    P.S we also have pillar/ring hyrdants in larger buildings, speaking for NSW only
    Attached Images Attached Images     

  23. #23
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny46 View Post
    All I know is this would never happen to paid, union firemen who did not stop for green lights while on emergency runs and made attacks on houses that did not for absolutely certain have people inside while praying to God and voting Republican, who also carried guns on the apparatus and were masked up prior to arrival.
    OK, I'm not sure if that's a huge joke or..... But the truth is, I never have my actual mask on when I get there. That would be kinda silly! Pack yes. Mask no. The rest.... I am: a paid, union fireman that doesn't stop at " Green" lights for most normal reasons. We do make interior attacks on houses either way, I do pray to God, and I did vote Republican because I don't expect a handout. Still up in the air on packing heat in the rig. So Johnny46 did a pretty good job of summing it all up. I will say that I was volunteer for a long time. Those guys did things pretty much the same as we do them where I currently work. Also, the boys that I used to know in northern Virginia are pretty hardcore vollys. They sure know how to put a stop on some fire. Guess I understand the thought process in waiting until you have an uninterrupted water source, but that's not the way we operate. I have hear that there is a dept. not far from me that makes the Co. Officer get out of the rig first and do a 360 before anyone else is allowed to get off of the rig. He then comes back and makes assignments. Again, I understand the thought process, but I don't agree with it. Each and every dept. has their own way of doing things. I guess we all just need to stop and think about what may have prompted their current sop's, and respect their way of doing things. About the original post, I still maintain that 15 minutes is crazy. Now, if the dept. is trying to make a point so that they can see some action taken to deal with dry plugs, then I would surmise that they could have stretched the story a bit to accomplish this.

  24. #24
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,802

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson View Post
    Training question:Your rigs hold 500 gallons,right?
    Even at 100 gpm,how long will you have to put water on the fire and how long would you want to wait after your hose runs dry while you are inside as the other guys set up the portapond and shuttle runs?
    Just because my old outfit might not go interior until there is a viable hydrant supplying the engine doesn't mean there aren't other departments that consider using tanks on interior attacks to be a good idea.
    Just having 500 gallons on hand with no more to be had makes even me nervous.I am of the opinion that you can never have enough water to put down a fire until you know that it is down.

    Just out of curiosity have you ever pulled a line off in training and seen how long your booster tank lasts? That is a lot of fire you can put out. Even if you don't put it completely out, dumping 500 gallons will put a serious hit on most fires that'll give you the 15 minutes to get more water.

    Go in with the tank water, hit the fire, if your line goes dry you can always back out. Especially with a situation like this, dumping the tank can be the difference between the FD making a stop and the foundation making the stop.


    I agree though, 15 minutes for this is odd.

  25. #25
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Memphis Tn,USA-now
    Posts
    5,436

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    Just out of curiosity have you ever pulled a line off in training and seen how long your booster tank lasts? That is a lot of fire you can put out. Even if you don't put it completely out, dumping 500 gallons will put a serious hit on most fires that'll give you the 15 minutes to get more water.
    Go in with the tank water, hit the fire, if your line goes dry you can always back out. Especially with a situation like this, dumping the tank can be the difference between the FD making a stop and the foundation making the stop.
    I agree though, 15 minutes for this is odd.
    My old department starts off at 100 gpm through 2" lines and bumps it up or down from there.100 gpm from a 1000 gallon tank(Pierce Enforcer pumper)means that you will be out of water in 10 minutes.
    We'd start on the booster tank only as long as it took to hit the hydrant and then switch over.The guy dressing the hydrant needs to drag the hose off the bed,wrap the loop around the hydrant and be opening connections and flowing the water as the rig rolls on down the street to the scene.That way he knows quicker whether or not the hydrant can be used or if they have to hump that hose to the next hydrant and hopefully be able to use it.Dead end water lines are such a beach.
    I'm not saying that I am the most experienced man here but that's the way it was taught to me and expected in real life ops.If there isn't enough water to continue the fight after the booster tank runs out,it adds to the pucker factor for those waiting for the water with a limp hose in hand.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Hello From West Virginia
    By Captain24 in forum Meet and Greet
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-22-2009, 06:01 PM
  2. Hello from West Virginia
    By NVFD770 in forum Meet and Greet
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-24-2006, 03:42 AM
  3. West Virginia Firefighters Wanted
    By bvfdfair in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-04-2003, 07:00 PM
  4. Seattle firefighters stage rescue in West Virginia
    By NJFFSA16 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-28-2003, 08:58 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register