1. #1
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    Default Fire Hydrant Help

    My Department just recently color coded our fire hydrants to NFPA standards,

    Red top = less than 500 gpm
    Orange top = 501-1000 gpm
    Green top = 1001-1500
    Blue top = 1501 on up

    My questions is how do I figure out a rough guestimate of how many gallons per minute are actually flowing into the truck from the supply line?

    My department uses a forward lay using one 2.5 inch supply line. Yes.....we still use 2.5 inch supply line......right now we are having a argument because some of our older fireman believe that it doesn't do any good to hook more than one 2.5 inch supply line from the same hydrant to the same truck.....but thats another story......

    If you lay 200 foot of 2.5 inch supply line from a hydrant to the truck on a red hydrant (max 500 gpm), how may gallons per minute are actually reaching the truck?

    Same question for a Orange top hydrant?

    Same questions for a Green top Hydrant?

    Same question for a Blue top Hydrant?

    Is there a easy formula you can do in your head? I'm just looking for a quick estimate???

    One of the things we did find doing this is that the majority of Hydrants in town were red tops with a great number of them only flowing about 150gpm.....thats a huge problem that the City staff had been hiding from us over the years.......
    Thanks in Advacne for your help......

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    Pretty much impossible to answer your question without knowing the static and residual pressures in the hydrant system. To answer completely you need to do some testing. Assuming you do not have an engine at the hydrant to pump to you, you are solely relying on the pressure in the water main to push the water through the supply hose to the pump. That pressure has to over come the friction loss in your supply hose and give you some reserve pressure to get the water into your pump without cavitating. To test the system you can measure static pressure of your system by connecting to your hydrant with a pressure gauge and cap or use your intake gauge on your engine. To determine hydrant flow you can use a pitot gauge off of the hydrant or connect your engine and flow some water with either a nozzle with a known flow/flowmeter/pitot gauge. It is your decision on how to measure because you can account for the friction loss in the supply hose by doing hydraulic calculations to give you a decent estimate or measure directly by setting up and doing it. Basically you can measure the flow and pressures available, and then determine your own formula. I have seen hydrants with low static pressures that can support big flows i.e. 50 psi static on a 24" looped main, we did 1000 gpm off this hydrant and never went below a 40 psi residual, I have also seen hydrants that were on a 4" dead end main with 80 psi static that when we went up to 300 gpm we were down to 20 psi residual.

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    I am curious to know the reasoning behind the 2.5 from the oldtimers, a 3 inch would be roughly 1/3 the FL and use the same couplings. It is cool to deny the thread hijack if you wish.
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    Well sounds like your town has water problems, like you say

    Maybe as stated do some fire hydrant flow tests

    The other thing is what has the department been doing in the past??? No one has noticed low hydrant pressure ??????

    Another thing to do is pick different areas in town hook up to a fire hydrant, and see how many lines you can flow, without sucking the pipe out of the ground
    And than repeat in different areas

    The color coding is sometimes not a good indicator of water flow, you might hook up to a blue top and find out it does not have much water flowing on that day

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    “Colour-coding hydrants is not a solution. All it does is warn the fire department that sufficient water flow may not be available.”




    Also:::

    http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-prod...-color-coding/

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    Quote Originally Posted by iggerz View Post
    My questions is how do I figure out a rough guestimate of how many gallons per minute are actually flowing into the truck from the supply line?
    Short answer? Exactly as many GPM as are flowing out of the truck (less any being diverted to the booster tank until it's full).

    If you lay 200 foot of 2.5 inch supply line from a hydrant to the truck on a red hydrant (max 500 gpm), how may gallons per minute are actually reaching the truck?
    Just as many as are leaving the hydrant; presumably a maximum of 500 GPM at a residual hydrant pressure of 20 psi.

    One of the things we did find doing this is that the majority of Hydrants in town were red tops with a great number of them only flowing about 150gpm.
    Just out of morbid curiosity, how were the flow rates determined for color coding?
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    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Thumbs up Wow...........

    There are times that I realize just how lucky I am here. Our Hydrants rarely come in under 1,000 GPM usable flow, with most in excess of 1,500, and some at/above 2,000. FWIW, we could care less about NFPA and Color Coding. Our Public Hydrants are White with Green Tops and Caps, and Private Hydrants are painted Red. All Hydrants are tested and Maintained by our Water/Sewer Organization, which is a Multi-Jurisdictional authority covering 2 entire Counties and about 2.1 Million people over 1,050 Square Miles. Fire Department practice varies across the region, but our SOPs involve 3 inch Supply Line and Supply and Attack Engines. 1st. Engine lays a Line to the Fire, 2nd Engine connects to the Hydrant and supplies the 1st, etc....... Despite our Water Supply System being very good, we always have an Engine on the Hydrant, we do not charge supply lines directly from the hydrant........
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    So you take the time to color code the plugs then only lay a single 2.5" supply line? Seems a little pointless to me. You guys still pulling the red line for interior attack too? We use 500 GPM as a rule of thumb for max flow on 3" line. That would lend one to assume less for the 2.5" line.

    I have never understood why people take the time to color code. If I am the FAO I am not passing a red top plug if it is the closest to the scene.
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    Some states/ cities mandate color coding

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    Default Ok........

    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Some states/ cities mandate color coding

    Thanks, I never heard of that before............
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    On advice of legal counsel, rural water utilities around Texas — including Marion’s Green Valley SUD — began painting their hydrants black because first, they couldn’t always guarantee suitable flows, and second, they didn’t want to accept possible civil liability for a hydrant that turned out to be mislabeled. In many cases, the utilities also did not acknowledge any responsibility for providing fire flows.





    http://www.texas-fire.com/2009/05/co...fire-hydrants/



    H.B. 1913 (McReynolds) – Fire Hydrants: would: (1) require a water utility to paint a fire hydrant white if it is available only to fill a water tank on a fire truck; (2) require a water utility to paint a fire hydrant black or cover it with a tarp if it is unavailable or temporarily unavailable for fire suppression services; (3) define when a hydrant is considered “unavailable”; (4) create an exception to these rules if a city has its own hydrant color-coding rules; and (5) create a waiver of liability for certain water systems when a hydrant is unable to provide adequate water supply in an emergency.

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    The only color coding used on our hydrants here relates to their threads. In the past 50+ years there have been multiple governmental agencies, cities, water districts, etc that have put hydrants in around our township. Some are NST, some are different. Some are 4 inch steamer connections, some are 4.5 etc. So the color of the hydrant here correlates to what color storz fitting you will need to pull off the truck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Some states/ cities mandate color coding
    Color coding of hydrants is not mandated in LA, however come rating time, you will take a considerable hit on the water supply side if they are not.

    Because of that, we take full responsibility for the inspection, testing, painting and numbering of the hydrants for the 5 water districts within our fire district.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    On advice of legal counsel, rural water utilities around Texas — including Marion’s Green Valley SUD — began painting their hydrants black because first, they couldn’t always guarantee suitable flows, and second, they didn’t want to accept possible civil liability for a hydrant that turned out to be mislabeled. In many cases, the utilities also did not acknowledge any responsibility for providing fire flows.





    http://www.texas-fire.com/2009/05/co...fire-hydrants/



    H.B. 1913 (McReynolds) – Fire Hydrants: would: (1) require a water utility to paint a fire hydrant white if it is available only to fill a water tank on a fire truck; (2) require a water utility to paint a fire hydrant black or cover it with a tarp if it is unavailable or temporarily unavailable for fire suppression services; (3) define when a hydrant is considered “unavailable”; (4) create an exception to these rules if a city has its own hydrant color-coding rules; and (5) create a waiver of liability for certain water systems when a hydrant is unable to provide adequate water supply in an emergency.
    I see nothing in there about the NFPA color coding system.
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    All of the hydrants in the city are painted aluminum, with silver reflective paint on the upper flange. Hydrants which are on mains 10 inches and greater have the caps painted yellow!


    The hydrants belong to the Dept. of Public Utilities. They furnish paint, brushes, etc. for the FD to paint them.




    The FD will go out with a sprinkler company, by appointment, to assist them in the flow testing of hydrants for construction projects. The FD opens and close the hydrants, since there is an ordinance on the books that prohibits anyone but city employee's from opening a fire hydrant.

    We take the flow information and record it and pass it along to DPU.
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    Allow me to throw out a suggestion, and one you can use on training night or something. Take your pitot gauge and go to a hydrant. Hook in your single 2 1/2" and run your typical lay, then take a reading. Next, lay two lines and take a reading. However, on the second one double your flow estimate.

    You'll 1) find out your flow through the 200' or whatever of 2 1/2 and 2) show the old timers that you can flow substantially more with two.

    My guess is you're lucky to be flowing 250-300 gpm through your single 2 1/2" at 200'. That's base on my experience with our vollie department, as we used to operate the same way. It took me doing the above to prove the benefit of a dual lay and me becoming chief to get LDH.

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    You need to look up friction loss charts for the hose you are using. Try to get one from the manufacturer of the hose you use. There is some variation by type (Double jacketed cotton vs "plastic" hose) even though it's the same size. You should be able to google this info. Laminate a chart and put it in your pump operators compartment.
    As long as you are googling, search out artilcles on hose lays and the different advantages. Also google the NIOSH report on the Super Sofa fire in Charleston, they used 2 1/2" supply lines. See how that worked out for them.

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