A fire hydrant is an essential piece of safety equipment. Whether you’re running a municipality or have fire hydrants on your private property, it is in your best interest to make sure they are in optimum condition.
Use Proper Equipment
When inspecting a fire hydrant, not just any wrench will do. It is important to use a custom hydrant wrench or valve turner as other tools may warp the operating nut and make it unusable.
Give Proper Training
Fire hydrants are not intuitive pieces of equipment and the people you assign to perform an inspection should be taught specifically how to operate one as well as problems to look for.
Create a Schedule
Inspections should be bi-annual and should be thoroughly documented alongside problems and repairs. This way, if there is a problem that prevents it from being effectively used, time won’t be wasted during an emergency to figure it out. Better, more reliable avenues can be pursued first, saving precious minutes.
Clean It Out
Before you begin your inspection, you will want to flush out the fire hydrant until the water runs clear. This step isn’t just helpful in getting an accurate assessment but makes the hydrant more efficient during emergencies.
Stay Lubricated, Not Hydrated
While all moving parts should be sealed tightly, you don’t want your hydrant to be impossible to open or operate, and lubrication keeps everything moving smoothly. Also without proper lubrication, your fire hydrants may rust shut due to high exposure to moisture.
Also, be on the lookout for improper drainage. If you hold your hand over a nozzle and you don’t feel suction on your palm, you may have a clog on your hands. This means water doesn’t drain properly and if it freezes it can lead to breaks in your system.
A fire hydrant is a valuable resource. By keeping it well maintained, you are assuring it will be available to you when you need it most.