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Encyclopedia > Fire hydrant
Fire hydrant in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Fire hydrant in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA

A fire hydrant (also known colloquially as a fire plug in the United States or as a johnny pump in New York City), is an active fire protection measure, and a source of water provided in most urban, suburban and rural areas with municipal water service to enable firefighters to tap into the municipal water supply to assist in extinguishing a fire. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1704x2272, 1815 KB) Fire hydrant on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1704x2272, 1815 KB) Fire hydrant on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Virginia. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... Active fire protection is one of the three types of structural fire protection. ... A municipality or general-purpose district (compare with: special-purpose district) is an administrative local area generally composed of a clearly defined territory and commonly referring to a city, town, or village government. ... A Canadian firefighter A firefighter or fireman is trained and equipped to extinguish fires. ...


The concept of fire plugs dates to at least the 1600s. This was a time when firefighters responding to a call would dig down to the water mains and hastily bore a hole to secure water to fight fires via bucket brigades or, later, via hand pumped fire engines. The holes were then plugged with stoppers, which over time came to be known as fire plugs. This is the source of the colloquial term fire plug still used for fire hydrants today. After the Great Fire of London in 1666, the city installed water mains with holes drilled at intervals, equipped with risers, allowing an access point to the wooden fire plugs from street level. [1] A municipal water system is a large system of reservoirs and large-scale piping which supplies fresh water, suitable for human consumption, to houses and other residences. ... A Bucket brigade is a method for transporting items where a string of static people pass the items to the next person. ... A fire engine of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, England. ... Detail of painting from 1666 of the Great Fire of London by an unknown artist, depicting the fire as it would have appeared on the evening of Tuesday, 4 September from a boat in the vicinity of Tower Wharf. ...


It has been claimed that Birdsill Holly invented the fire hydrant, but his 1869 design was preceded by many other patents for fire hydrants, and a number of these earlier designs were produced and successfully marketed. Numerous wooden cased fire hydrant designs existed prior to the development of the familiar cast iron hydrant. Although the development of the first above ground hydrant in the USA traces back to Philadelphia in 1803, underground fire hydrants — common in parts of Europe and Asia — have existed since the 1700s. Birdsill Holly (November 8, 1820 _ 27 April 1894) was an inventor. ... Cast iron usually refers to grey cast iron, but can mean any of a group of iron-based alloys containing more than 2% carbon (alloys with less carbon are carbon steel by definition). ...

Contents

Operation

A hose is attached to the fire hydrant, then the valve is opened to provide a powerful source of water, on the order of 350 kPa (50 lbf/in²) (this pressure varies according to region and depends on various factors including the size and location of the attached water main). This hose can be further attached to a fire engine, which can then use a powerful pump to boost the water pressure and possibly split it into multiple streams. The hose may be connected with a threaded connection or a Storz connector. Care should be taken not to open or close a fire hydrant too quickly, as this can create a water hammer which can damage nearby pipes and equipment. The high water pressure inside the hose causes it to be very heavy, stiff, and unable to make a tight turn while pressurized. When a fire hydrant is unobstructed, this is not a problem, as there is enough room to adequately position the hose. Indoor firehose A firehose is a thick, high-pressure hose used to carry water or other fire retardant (such as foam) to a fire to extinguish it. ... These water valves are operated by handles. ... The pascal (symbol: Pa) is the SI derived unit of pressure or stress (also: Youngs modulus and tensile strength). ... A pressure gauge reading in PSI (red scale) and kPa (black scale) The pound-force per square inch (symbol: lbf/in²) is a non-SI unit of pressure based on avoirdupois units. ... A fire engine of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, England. ... An electrically driven pump (electropump) for waterworks near the Hengsteysee, Germany. ... Water pressure is the pressure in any system for supplying water, usually a domestic water system, although the term is used in other contexts as well, such as a municipal water system. ... A threaded pipe plug; note that the threaded portion is slightly conical and so touches the calipers at only two points. ... Storz connector Storz is a type of hose coupling invented by Carl August Guido Storz in 1882 comprised of interlocking hooks and flanges. ... Water hammer (or, more generally, fluid hammer) is a pressure surge or wave caused by the kinetic energy of a fluid in motion when it is forced to stop or change direction suddenly. ...

Clapper valve
Clapper valve

Most fire hydrant valves are not designed to throttle the water flow; they are designed to be operated full-on or full-off. The valving arrangement of most dry-barrel hydrants is for the drain valve to be open at anything other than full operation. Usage at partial-opening can consequently result in considerable flow directly into the soil surrounding the hydrant, which, over time, can cause severe scouring . A hose with a closed nozzle valve, or fire truck connection, or closed gate valve is always attached to the hydrant prior to opening the hydrant's main valve. Download high resolution version (822x438, 60 KB)A siamese clappered inlet. ... Download high resolution version (822x438, 60 KB)A siamese clappered inlet. ... A gate valve is a valve that opens by lifting a round or rectangular gate out of the path of the fluid. ...


When a Firefighter is operating a hydrant, appropriate Personal protective equipment, such as gloves and a helmet with face shield, are typically worn. High pressure water coursing through a potentially aging and corroding hydrant could cause a failure, injuring the firefighter operating the hydrant or bystanders. A Canadian firefighter A firefighter or fireman is trained and equipped to extinguish fires. ... // Personal protective equipment (PPE) refers to protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other gear designed to protect the wearers body or clothing from injury by electrical hazards, heat, chemicals, and infection, for job-related occupational safety and health purposes, and in sports, martial arts, combat, etc. ...

Chicago police car parked illegally in front of a fire hydrant. Note the yellow line on the curb by the hydrant.
Chicago police car parked illegally in front of a fire hydrant. Note the yellow line on the curb by the hydrant.

In most jurisdictions it is illegal to park a car within a certain distance of a fire hydrant. In North America the distances are commonly 3 to 5 m or 10 to 15 ft, often indicated by yellow or red paint on the curb. In the UK, yellow lines are used to keep cars from parking over underground hydrants. Parking restrictions are sometimes ignored (especially in cities where available street parking is scarce), however these laws are usually enforced. The rationale is that hydrants need to be visible and accessible in an emergency. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 750 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1280 × 1024 pixel, file size: 262 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 750 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1280 × 1024 pixel, file size: 262 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Municipal Flag of the City of Chicago The Chicago Police Department, also known as the CPD, is the principal law enforcement agency of Chicago, Illinois, under the jurisdiction of the mayor of Chicago. ... ‹ The template below (Unit of length) is being considered for deletion. ... A foot (plural: feet or foot;[1] symbol or abbreviation: ft or, sometimes, ′ – a prime) is a unit of length, in a number of different systems, including English units, Imperial units, and United States customary units. ...


Other uses

To prevent casual use or misuse, the hydrant requires special tools to be opened, usually a large wrench with a pentagon-shaped socket. Vandals sometimes cause monetary loss by wasting water when they open hydrants. Such vandalism can also reduce municipal water pressure and impair firefighters' efforts to extinguish fires. Sometimes those simply seeking to play in the water remove the caps and open the valve, providing residents a place to play and cool off in summer. However, this is usually discouraged as residents have been struck by passing automobiles while playing in the street in the water spray. In spite of this, some US communities provide low flow sprinkler heads to enable residents to use the hydrants to cool off during hot weather, while gaining some control on water usage. Sprinkler A sprinkler is a device used for the distribution of water from plumbing pipes, by spraying it into the air. ...


In most US areas, contractors who need temporary water may purchase permits to use hydrants. The permit will generally require a Hydrant Meter, a gate valve and sometimes a clapper valve (if not designed into the hydrant already) to prevent back-flow into the hydrant. Additionally, residents who wish to use the hydrant to fill their in-ground swimming pool are commonly permitted to do so provided they pay for the water and agree to allow firefighters to draft from their pool in the case of an emergency. A typical residential water meter A water meter is a device used to measure water usage. ... this siamese clappered inlet allows one or two inputs into a deluge gun A check valve is a mechanical device, a valve, that normally allows fluid or gas to flow through it in only one direction. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


Municipal services, such as street sweepers and tank trucks, may also be allowed to use hydrants to fill their water tanks. Often sewer maintenance trucks need water to flush out sewer lines, and fill their tanks on site from a hydrant. If necessary, the municipal workers will record the amount of water they used, or use a meter. An Italian streetsweeper in St Peters Square A street sweeper is a person or machine that cleans streets, usually in an urban area. ...


Construction

Hydrant installation in Ontario, Canada
Hydrant installation in Ontario, Canada

In areas subject to freezing temperatures, only a portion of the hydrant is above ground. The valve is located below the frost line and connected via a riser to the above-ground portion. A valve rod extends from the valve itself up through a seal at the top of the hydrant, where it can be operated with the proper wrench. This design is known as a "dry barrel" hydrant, in that the barrel, or vertical body of the hydrant, is normally dry. A drain valve underground opens when the water valve is completely closed; this allows all water to drain from the hydrant body to prevent the hydrant from freezing. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1280x960, 592 KB) Typical fire hydrant installation in Ontario, Canada. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1280x960, 592 KB) Typical fire hydrant installation in Ontario, Canada. ... The frost line is the level down to which the soil will normally freeze each winter in a given area. ... In sand casting, a riser prevents shrinkage in metal cast parts during the solidification process. ... Combination wrench, or combination spanner (left: box-end/ring, right: open-end) A wrench or spanner is a tool used to provide a mechanical advantage in applying torque to turn bolts, nuts or other hard-to-turn items. ...


In warm areas, hydrants are used with one or more valves in the above-ground portion. Unlike cold-weather hydrants, it is possible to turn the water supply on and off to each port. This style is known as a "wet barrel" hydrant.


Both wet- and dry- barrel hydrants typically have multiple outlets. Wet barrel hydrant outlets are typically individually controlled, while a single stem operates all the outlets of a dry barrel hydrant simultaneously. Thus, wet barrel hydrants allow single outlets to be opened, requiring somewhat more effort but simultaneously allowing more flexibility.


A typical U.S. dry-barrel hydrant has two smaller outlets and one larger outlet. The larger outlet is often a Storz connection if the local fire department has standardized on hose using Storz fittings for large diameter supply line. The larger outlet is known as a "steamer" connection, and a hydrant with such an outlet may be referred to as a "steamer hydrant" although this usage is becoming archaic. Likewise, an older hydrant without a steamer connection may be referred to as a "village hydrant." Storz connector Storz is a type of hose coupling invented by Carl August Guido Storz in 1882 comprised of interlocking hooks and flanges. ...


Appearance

Hydrant coloring may be due either to purely practical criteria or more artistic. In America, the AWWA and NFPA recommend hydrants be colored chrome yellow for rapid identification apart from the bonnet and nozzle caps which should be coded according to their available flow. Class AA hydrants (>1500gpm) should have their nozzle caps and bonnet colored light blue, Class A hydrants (1000-1499gpm), green, Class B hydrants (500-999gpm), orange, and Class C hydrants (0-499gpm), red. This aids arriving firefighters in determining how much water is available and whether to call for additional resources, or locate another hydrant. Other codings can and frequently are used, some of greater complexity, incorporating pressure information, others more simplistic. In Ottawa, hydrant colors communicate different messages to firefighters; for example, if the inside of the hydrant is corroded so much that the interior diameter is too narrow for good pressure, it will be painted in a specific scheme to indicate to firefighters to move on to the next one. In many localities, a white or purple top indicates that the hydrant provides non-potable water. Where artistic and/or aesthetic considerations are paramount, hydrants can be extremely varied, or more subdued. In both instances this is usually at the cost of reduced practicality. This article is about the capital city of Canada. ... Drinking water This article focuses on water as we experience it every day. ...


In Germany, most hydrants are located below ground (Unterflurhydrant) and are accessed by a Standrohr which provides the connections for the hoses.


Signage

British fire hydrant and sign
British fire hydrant and sign

In the UK, hydrants are located in the ground. Yellow "H" hydrant signs indicate the location of the hydrants, and are similar to the blue signs in Finland. Mounted on a small post or nearby wall etc, the two numbers indicate the size of the water main in millimetres (top number) and the distance in metres from the sign (lower number). Older signs may use Imperial units. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (600x800, 195 KB) A fire hydrant in Bewdley, UK. Taken by me on 4 April 2006. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (600x800, 195 KB) A fire hydrant in Bewdley, UK. Taken by me on 4 April 2006. ... A millimetre (American spelling: millimeter, symbol mm) is an SI unit of length that is equal to one thousandth of a metre. ... The Imperial units or the Imperial system is a collection of English units, first defined in the Weights and Measures Act of 1824, later refined (until 1959) and reduced. ...


In areas of the United States without winter snow cover, blue reflectors embedded in the street are used to allow rapid identification of hydrants at night. In areas with snow cover, tall signs or flags are used so that hydrants can be located even if covered with snow. In rural areas tall narrow posts painted with visible colours such as red are attached to the hydrants to allow them to be located during heavy snowfall periods. The amber markers separate opposing traffic lanes. ... Sign in a rural area in Dalarna, Sweden Qichun, a rural town in Hubei province, China An artists rendering of an aerial view of the Maryland countryside: Jane Frank (Jane Schenthal Frank, 1918-1986), Aerial Series: Ploughed Fields, Maryland, 1974, acrylic and mixed materials on apertured double canvas, 52...


In Australia, Hydrant signage varies, with several types displayed across the country. Most Australian hydrants are underground, being of a ballcock system, and a standpipe with a central plunger is used to open the valve. Due to this, hydrant signage is essential, due to their concealed nature.

  • Painted markers - Usually a white or yellow (sometimes reflective paint) triangle or arrow painted on the road, pointing towards the side of the side of the road the hydrant will be found on. These are most common in old areas, or on new roads where more advanced signs have not been installed. These are almost always coupled with a secondary form of signage.
  • Hydrant Marker Plates - Found on power poles, fences, or street-signs, these are a comprehensive and effective system of identification. The plate consists of several codes; H (Potable water Hydrant), RH (Recycled/Non Potable), P (Pathway, where the hydrant cover can be found), R (Roadway). The plate is vertically oriented, around 8cm wide, and 15 cm high. Found on this plate, from top to bottom, are the following features:
    • The codes listed above, Potable/Non-potable at the top, Path/Roadway on the bottom of the plate.
    • Below this, a number giving the distance to the hydrant (in meters), then a second number below that giving the size (in millimeters) of the water main.
    • A black line across the center of the plate indicated the hydrant is found on the opposite side of the road to which the plate is affixed.
    • Plates for recycled water have a purple background, as well as the RH code, normal potable hydrants are white, with the H code.
  • Road reflectors or 'Catseyes' - Almost exclusively blue, these are placed on the center line of the road, usually with little indication on which side of the road the hydrant lies. They are visible for several hundred meters at night in heavy rain, further in clear conditions.

Inspection and maintenance

A fire hydrant that was hit by a snow plow and knocked over. Note that only the sacrificial bolts were damaged
A fire hydrant that was hit by a snow plow and knocked over. Note that only the sacrificial bolts were damaged

In most areas fire hydrants require annual inspections and maintenance - they normally only have a one year warranty, but some have 5 year warranties. These inspections are generally performed by the local municipalities but they often do not inspect hydrants that are identified as private. Private hydrants are usually located on larger properties to adequately protect large buildings in case of a fire and in order to comply with the fire code. Some companies are contracted out to inspect private fire hydrants unless the municipality has undertaken that task. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Fire safety is a component of Building Safety. ...


Fire Hydrant manufacturers recommend lubricating the head mechanism and restoring the head gaskets and o-rings annually in order that the fire hydrant perform the service expected of them. Lubrication is generally done with a food grade non-petroleum lubricant to avoid contamination of the distribution system.


Occasionally a stone or foreign object will mar the seat gasket. In this case, most hydrants have a special seat wrench that allows removal of the seat to replace the gasket or other broken parts without removing the hydrant from the ground. Hydrants extensions are also available for raising a hydrant if the grade around the hydrant changes. Without extending the height, the wrenches to remove caps would not clear and the break flanges for traffic models would not be located correctly in case they were hit. Hydrant repair kits are also available to repair sacrificial parts designed to break when hit by a vehicle.


Many departments use the hydrants for flushing out water line sediments. When doing so, they often use a hydrant diffuser, which is a device that diffuses the water so that it doesn't damage property and is less dangerous to bystanders than a solid stream. Some diffusers also dechlorinate the water to avoid ground contamination. Hydrants are also sometimes used as entry or exit points for pipe cleaning pigs. This article or section needs to be wikified. ...


Historical inventions and innovations

The inventor of the injected fire hydrant was James Henry Greathead. James Henry Greathead (6 August 1844 - 21 October 1896) was an engineer renowned for his work on the underground railway networks of London. ...


Non-pressurized hydrants

A dry hydrant which allows water to be pumped by a fire engine from the lake
A dry hydrant which allows water to be pumped by a fire engine from the lake

In rural areas where municipal water systems are not available, dry hydrants are used to supply water for fighting fires. A dry hydrant is similar to a standpipe. A dry hydrant is usually an unpressurized, permanently installed pipe that has one end below the water level of a lake or pond. This end usually has a strainer to prevent debris from entering the pipe. The other end is above ground and has a standard fire hose connector. When needed, a pumper fire engine will pump water from the lake or pond using suction. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For other uses, see Standpipe. ...


Other types

Water wells are also sometimes classified as fire hydrants if they can supply enough water volume and pressure. Cable tool water well drilling rig in Kimball, West Virginia. ...


See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ... The Skyline Parkway Motel in Afton, Virginia after an arson fire on July 9, 2004. ... Active fire protection is one of the three types of structural fire protection. ... Fire extinguisher A fire extinguisher is a device used to put out a fire, often in an emergency situation. ... Fire protection is the prevention and reduction of the hazards associated with fires. ... Fire sprinklers are an active fire protection measure subject to stringent bounding. ... Storz connector Storz is a type of hose coupling invented by Carl August Guido Storz in 1882 comprised of interlocking hooks and flanges. ... A hydrant wrench is a tool used to remove fire hydrant caps and open the valve of the hydrant. ...

References

  • U.S. Patent 909  -- Issued to John Jorden on September 8, 1838 for "...a new and useful improvement in Fire-Plugs and Hydrants...". This is an early wooden bodied hydrant, the earliest hydrant patent extant; the patent office itself burned to the ground in 1836, taking with it all prior hydrant patents.
  • U.S. Patent 37,466  -- Issued to Richard Stileman on January 20, 1863. An early iron hydrant, believed the first patented hydrant with the larger size steamer port to supply steam fire engines. Manufactured and marketed as the Stileman hydrant. See also Stileman page at FireHydrant.org.
  • U.S. Patent 80,143  -- Issued to Zebulon Erastus Coffin on July 21, 1868. This is a cast iron hydrant very similar to modern fire hydrants, it was produced by Boston Machine Co. See also Boston Machine page at FireHydrant.org.
  • U.S. Patent 94,749  -- Issued to Birdsill Holly on September 14, 1869. Birdsill Holly himself makes no claim in his patent text that he invented the fire hydrant. What is more, his improvements are relatively minor, and today, obsolete. See also Holly page at FireHydrant.org.
  • Wohleber, Curt. "The Fire Hydrant". In The American Heritage of Invention & Technology. Winter 2002. Retrieved December 25, 2005. Provides a history with dates of fire hydrant development.

is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... | Jöns Jakob Berzelius, discoverer of protein 1838 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... A patent office is a governmental or intergovernmental organisation which controls the issue of patents. ... January 20 is the 20th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 202nd day of the year (203rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1868 (MDCCCLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 257th day of the year (258th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1869 (MDCCCLXIX) is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Shaw, Eyre Massey Fire Protection, a Complete Manual of the Organization, Machinery, Discipline, and General Workings of the Fire Brigade of London 1876. Pages 24-26. Retrieved February 26, 2007 from Google Book Search. Description, illustration, and operation of London style wooden fire plugs.

At the Frankfurt Book Fair in October 2004, Google introduced its Google Print service, now known as Google Book Search. ...

External links

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