Fire hydrants provide an essential function in the maintenance of the water system and adequate fire protection in communities.
They are extremely important for sustaining the safety of your property for obvious reasons. By virtue, however, of being in service regularly, a few complications may arise leading to the inability to use them when they are needed.
Fortunately, fire hydrants can be repaired, but good maintenance will help prevent damage in the first place. Good maintenance begins with an awareness of potential risks: What causes damages to these fire hydrants in the first place, and what measures can be taken to prevent them?
Causes of Damages
Automobile accidents are one of the most common causes of damage to fire hydrants, whether it’s a small crack or a severely bent shaft, motor vehicles cause a range of damage when they come spinning out of intersections to run into or over a fire hydrant.
In regions with sub-freezing temperatures, wet-barrel hydrants could become frozen and dry-barrel hydrants could experience valve failures and become frozen as well. With house fires being far more prevalent in the winter than the summer, this can leave fire departments responding to a blaze in a dilemma.
Sometimes, inexperienced firemen could damage fire hydrants. This usually occurs when debris is caught in the system, and without realizing it, they crank too hard in an attempt to stop water from flowing. The result is often a cracked or broken valve, and a leak needing to be fixed.
Preventing Fire Hydrant Damage
Hydrant damage is bound to happen, and when this happens you will need an expert fire hydrant repair service. To ensure that repairs are few and far between, however, there are measures that can be taken to keep this damage in check, so as to help you save money.
To prevent damage from traffic accidents, it would help to make your hydrant as visible as possible to drivers. This can be done by providing bollards and enclosures. Note, however, that although these features may serve as protection, they may also make it a little difficult to hook up hoses and open valves in the events of a fire.
In areas known for seasonal sub-freezing temperatures, consistent testing and freeze protection help to ensure that these hydrants remain unfrozen and functional when needed, even in the most chilly months.
Flow testing is another very important measure in the prevention of fire hydrant damage. The process involves the opening of all valves, and the release of water to clear any build-up of debris. It also helps to discover leaky or broken valves that could lead to extended shut-downs.
To avoid major damage that could result in an inoperable hydrant, routine inspections are vital. It also helps to have a maintenance and repair kit on hand. Because the earlier a problem is fixed, the better.
Fire Hydrant Repairs
Some common examples of proactive fire hydrant repairs are enumerated below.
- Examining your hydrant’s O-rings and replacing any deteriorated ones with new parts.
- Checking and lubricating the operating nut and stem to keep them running smoothly.
- Adjusting the height of your hydrant when there is a change in the surrounding ground level resulting from construction or landscaping work.
A hydrant that cannot function poses a massive risk to your property, and so you must ensure that yours is working correctly at all times.