Let's imagine a situation. In an office building, fire is caused by an electrical malfunction. The fire department is called to the site, they rush to the nearest fire hydrant to connect their hose but ultimately there is no water coming out. Whoops, now what? The maintenance of a fire hydrant quite literally decides the result of a life or death situation. This blog is guided to help you provide information on fire hydrant operation and maintenance. These tips will be useful for dry barrel hydrants that are used commonly for water distribution in the Middle East.

Operation of the Hydrant

It is important for properly operating the hydrant, so adequate fire protection can be provided consistently. You must always use a hydrant wrench while operating the hydrant. The nut will be rounded off by the repeated use of a pipe wrench on the five-sided operating nut and for that, a hydrant wrench will not work any longer. You must slowly open the hydrant valve a few turn after opening the highest port until water has reached the open port. You can flush any debris which may be in the fire hydrant barrel. When the water is clear, you can slowly open the hydrant fully. It is important to displace trapped air from the hydrant barrel. Problems can be caused by compressed air. You must remember that air can be compressible but water is not. In cases, the internal hydrant valve may not properly function because of the mechanical problems or debris. Whenever possible, you can attach an operating hand valve to the port from which the water will flow. If the flow from the fire hydrant cannot be completely shut down with the use of operating nut, you can use the hand valve for stopping the flow and then close the control valve on the hydrant lead for shutting down the hydrant completely so that repair or replacements can be performed. The hydrants which are extremely old must not be operated by an inexperienced person as the hydrants may not seat well when closed and may be left running. Again there is a risk of break damage if an inexperienced person is operating it while forcing it in an attempt to get the hydrant to stop leaking. So for that, the use of a “cheater” bar or pipe shall be discouraged when operating an older hydrant. The flow must be diverted by hoses, diffusers, or other equipment. Proper traffic control must be offered as required.

Hydrant Maintenance

Fire hydrants must always be operable and capable of providing adequate fire protection, so systematic maintenance and inspection are important. Instead of reactively, systems can be scheduled proactively and problems can be dealt with before they become catastrophic. On a regular basis, hydrants must be inspected at least once a year. Dry barrel hydrants can require around two inspections in a year, during fall and spring. Every hydrant inspection must be documented and problems with a hydrant must be immediately reported.  All the problems which are experienced during the inspection must be properly documented and immediately reported.

In a wet-barrel design, the hydrant is connected directly to the pressurized water source. The upper section or barrel of the hydrant is always filled with water, and each outlet has its own valve with a stem that sticks out the side of the barrel. In a dry-barrel design, the hydrant is separated from the pressurized water source by a main valve in the lower section of the hydrant below ground. The upper section remains dry until the main valve is opened by means of a long stem that extends up through the top, or bonnet, of the hydrant. There are no valves on the outlets. Dry barrel hydrants are usually used where winter temperatures fall below 32° F (0° C) to prevent the hydrant from freezing.

Dutco Tennant LLC supplies the largest fire hydrant supplier in the Middle East. Being the regional partner of AVK valves allows us to offer the best in class solutions for all your projects. Contact us for all your enquiries.