1. #1
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    Question Hydrant Maintenance

    I NEED TO FIND OUT HOW OTHER DEPARTMENTS ARE MAINTAINING THEIR RESPECTIVE CITIESOR COUNTIES FIRE HYDRANTS? I AM HOPING TO INVOLVE THE COMMUNITY OR FIGURE OUT A WAY TO HAVE OUR DEPARTMENT DELEGATE THE MAINTENCE RESPONSIBILITY TO SOMEONE ELSE> (MY MOTTO IS MORE TRAINING LESS HYDRANT PAINTING! ALSO I WILL NEED SOME DOCUMENTATION TO GO ALONG WITH THIS? SO HOW DOES YOUR DEPARTMENT DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE AND DO YOU HAVE AN SOP ON THIS ANTIQUATED SUBJECT?
    THANKS

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    I have the opposite question. Our town is paying the
    town works crew OT from the VFD budget to flush and test
    hydrants and I'm wondering if we couldn't do it ourselves
    and keep the money in the budget. Any thoughts?

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    We are just now starting with it... Because one of our water company (we have to deal with 3 different ones) wouldnt let us test hydraunts in hte past except from m-f between the times of 8 and 12 and being a vollie department that was just about impossible. We just had a meeting with them monday and they are gonna let us do it on weekends now.
    The plan right now is that the water companies well only buy yellow hydraunts from now on and that away we only have to pain the caps.. Also they have people who do the cleaning from around hte hydraunts.
    Mainly we are gonna start lubricating them (food grade lubrication) Finish color coding hte hydruants, and finish getting them numbered.

    As far as putting it off on someone else. Unless ya can put it off on hte water companies who are usually even more over worked then the fire departments I cant think of anyone who would be willing to do it... Unless you could talk to ya judge and get some of the kids that are working off community service to go and do it under supervision. Maybe threw ya magistrate or something.

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    My department does not maintain the hydrants, that is the responsibility of the Water Department. We do, however, check all the hydrants annually to make sure the caps and valves operate when we need them too.

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    We used to service the hydrants in our little village, but we have just managed to pass it over to the local utility.

    Sorry I don't have any SOG or documentation to help you. We used to hire a private contractor to come out and do it because we did not have the time, but in the end it was not a very hard sell to get the utility to take them. They saw it as just one more excuse to up the water rates and were all over it once we could show them the historic maintenance records to prove they were all in good working order.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    This has been a hullabaloo for us, currently public works is suppossed to maintain them but as per usual, they do nothing with them. The FD has asked to get them back as we are willing to keep them up to par. This came to light a few years ago when ISO came to pitot some hydrants as part of our rating, well we had one we could not open, one that was difficult to open and one we flushed, and out shot a HUGE piece of rock that would have surely boogered up a pump had it been attached to it. When they wanted to see the hydrant records they went next door to public works they of course had NO records. So ..........needless to say the public works was going to file a grievance saying that we were taking work away from them when they had done NO work. And now they still have control of them and they have at least identified the ones that DONT work, hopefully they are getting them fixed.
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    Our Streets/maintenance Dept. Handles the Hydrant Maintenance. Usually we don't have any problems with them doing the work. If we notice a problem with one, they come out and fix it pretty quickly. One of the employees actually use to work for one of the water depts., and use to do it all the time, so he's usually one of the people who come out.

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    We do the maint on the 500 and some hydrants that we have. I have a form I will see if I can figure out how to attach it. Our members have done so many of them that the only time they fill the form out is if they have a problem with a hydrant to tell me what is wrong with it so I can turn it into the water department. The form flew through the ISO inspection that we had. I also keep a field sheet with it that is numbered 1- whatever number of hydrants we have. Increasing as I type this. I then enter the info for inspection dates into the computer database that I have created.

    As far as painting them we have the township hire some of the prisoners from the jail that are allowed out for good behavior or something like that. It is arranged through the Sheriffs department and the township however.

    If I can figure out how to do an attachement I will do another post.

    Good Luck you need buy in from the whole department or someone is going to be doing a whole lot of work
    Les Hartford
    Assistant Chief
    LMR Fire Dept.

    The views posted here are strickly my own and not of any of the groups I am affiliated with.

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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the information! I must concure that buy in from the whole department is crucial. I do not believe that that will be a major problem. The problem will come from our upper execs. If you have ever heard of the peter principal, those fellas are the textbook version. Anyway, I am looking at alternative options such as three year hydrant maintenance, adopt a hydrant, and turning over all functions to public utilities. Does anyone have any further options? Once again documentation is key here, so if you have a program that works or an SOP ket me know. thanks

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    Cool

    We split the testing with the Water District. They do half, we do half. The next time we switch halves. We grease the caps and take two readings when we do it. One static pressure and one residual with a 2 1/2 outlet flowing wide open.

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    FiremanPat:

    When I was a POC, we used to have teams of volunteers who would flush hydrants overnight on weekends. The city paid an hourly rate (much lower that what the water department crews would get at straight time.) and the younger members were glad to get the extra money. We did have some parts of town were the water lines were very old and prone to rupture easily. Those, we would save for the water department crews. If I were paying for it out of my department budget, I would definitely see about doing it yourselves. Its also good practice for the rookies.

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    My department flows & lubricates all 400 or so hyrdants in our city. Our plugs aren't color coded, so the red paint that is on them when Water Management installs them lasts a while.

    Last year, we did have a Boy Scout volunteer to organize a hydrant painting project. It's good to see young people wanting to help the community... but I don't think his group understood how boring painting plugs can be. Some of their work left a bit to be desired.

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    Our Town's Water and Sewer department handles all aspects of hydrant maintenance, etc. They flush the hydrants twice a year and paint each hydrant yearly or as needed to the show the GPM flow. They also go out after a snow storm and shovel around every hydrant. Our Water Department is actually very good when it comes to hydrants considering our fire district pays $8,000 a year to the town for hydrant rentals if you can believe that. Yeah, we pay to rent the hydrants to use at fires!!!!!!

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    We do our own hydrant testing and maintenance (painting and lubrication). Anything more involved goes to the water department. The water department has managed to pass off chlorine residual testing to us from time to time.

    We color-code ours per the NFPA recommended scheme. Out of service hydrants get black paint.

    One advantage to doing your own hydrant work is that you get to know every hydrant in your first due area - particularly OOS hydrants.
    ullrichk
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    My water department handles flushing, flow testing, and maint on our hydrant system. As for painting, every year we get a local Boy Scout who is looking for some kind of community project. Painting the hydrants gets done around every 4 years by one or more Boy Scouts.
    "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?

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    Angry Our hydrants suck

    Our water department is responsible with all testing and maintenance. However, that really doesn’t happen. We aren’t allowed to test or flush them because the water department/DPW union wouldn’t allow it. The city actually hired the explorers to paint the hydrants because they haven’t done it in years and citizens started complaining and painting them themselves. We also mapped them as we painted them as the old maps were terrible. We found hydrants facing the wrong way, caps buried in dirt, leaking hydrants, and some with the valve nut completely rounded off. We noted them to let the DPW know, but I don’t think anything has been done yet. We also have a section of the city which is so old, the hydrants are all ponies.

    Most of our hydrants are so old they wouldn’t be of much use during a fire anyway. About 2 years ago we hosted an explorer muster with waterball. The steamer was a 4” and our soft suction is 5”. We also don’t have any adaptors. So we decided to connect to the 2.5”. That worked until the threading blew apart and almost hit a kid with the flying hose. We also held a waterball event last September in another part of town and the amount of sediment kicked up eventually clogged the screen on the suction.

    Let’s hope nothing catastrophic happens as a result.

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    Originally posted by CrossBro1
    My department does not maintain the hydrants, that is the responsibility of the Water Department. We do, however, check all the hydrants annually to make sure the caps and valves operate when we need them too.
    If we don't do it nobody else will!!!!

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    I got my start in the service as a POC firefighter. That department didn't test hydrants because "that's the water department's job." Here's my question... whose life depends on the reliability of the fire hydrants? Is it the water department guys? Nope. It you & I.

    You depend on your SCBA, so you check it. You depend on your power tools, so you check them. You depend on your hose, so you test them. Why the heck would fire hydrants be any different?

    BTW, if you're letting someone else test your plugs and you have one fail to operate at a fire... I promise you that the water department won't be the one getting the bad press. It will be the fire department.

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    Exclamation

    Cozmosis, First thanks for your imput. However, I think that you have a misunderstanding on why I believe that PAINTING a hydrant is an antiquated way of doing business. I agree that testing hydrants operating valves etc, is a good practice, but currently my department forbids such action. the disclaimer states that this constant disruption in water flow will inhibit the residents of this community. (ie. messing up their clothes in the washing machine. SO while I partially agree that the FD will be blamed for the "plug" not working, it is not our overall responsibility. I feel that our time could be spent doing other things such as training, identifying target hazards etc. If you have any SOPS that would be helpful please feel free to post them. Thanks

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    The city water dept. plans them. We paint them.

    We physically check each hydrant twice a year. Spring and fall. Spring the hydrant it checked for operation, caps are removed and threads cleaned. The hydrants gets a fresh paint job, paint is provide by the water dept. Each two weeks all hydrants are checked for grass and weeds. If it is found, then the grass or weeds is cut close to the ground. In the fall each hydrant is checked again very good to be sure there isn't water standing in the barrel and it is weaping good. Caps and threads are also inspected and lubicated as needed.

    If there is a problem found a call to the water dept, via the fire radio operator gets a water dept employee to the scene or a crew if the hydrant is damaged. Since fire hydrants are good targets for automobiles looking for something else to hit other than cars, we get a few busted hydrants each month.

    It is worth my department time and efforts to do the checking on the hydrants. We also send to the water dept a list twice a year if we need additional hydrants installed.


    Stay Safe & Well out there...

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    County water does the service on the hydrants (including paint). We used to flow test but they added a new chemical to the water and its harmfull to fish. Our district is on a barrier island and all the runoff from the testing ends up in the bay. So the county told us to stop. Now no one is testing them. All we can do is open them a bit to make sure water comes out. Cant wait to see what ISO thinks about that...

    Dave

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    Originally posted by Dave1983
    County water does the service on the hydrants (including paint). We used to flow test but they added a new chemical to the water and its harmfull to fish. Our district is on a barrier island and all the runoff from the testing ends up in the bay. So the county told us to stop.
    Are your hydrants not a part of your drinking water system? Because I would think that a chemical harmful to fish couldn't be to healthy for the humans that drink the water, either.

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    We flow test and inspect ours once a year, than
    have the water dept inspect them at 6 months. 6 months
    later they flow and inspect then 6 months later we inspect
    ect ect-- we also perform a 13 step inspection per -AWWAM- 17
    and document they were done to that standard.

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    Oh yea ffexpcp -- your dry barrel hydrants need
    to suck ---- otherwise youll have a problem in freezing
    weather.

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    Are your hydrants not a part of your drinking water system? Because I would think that a chemical harmful to fish couldn't be to healthy for the humans that drink the water, either.
    Yes, the hydrant water is same as that used for drinking, and we asked the same thing. They say the new chemical mix added to the water has a higher ammonia content, which is bad for fish. I know that now if you have a tank with fish in your home, you have to add an ammonia reducer where before you had to add a chlorine reducer.

    Dave

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