It is easy to take fire hydrants for granted. We barely notice them on the street until there is an emergency. They are expected to work properly to dispense enough water to put out a fire, despite years of neglect. To avoid a malfunction, it is important to conduct a fire hydrant flow test to ensure this man-made device is fully functional at the right time. Additionally, annual maintenance and inspections will identify key problems before a catastrophic failure.
Condition Assessments Determine Functionality
Particles from dirt, gravel and other foreign materials can interrupt the ease of operation for hydrants. Infrequent repairs exacerbate problems and also threaten functionality. Not only can this create problems with the hydrant, but it also leads to poor conditions with the water system. The main valve can become damaged, which prevents it from draining or closing properly.
Condition assessments allow you to get in front of potential problems. By inspecting the mechanical condition of hydrants, you can determine the operational reliability in the water distribution system.
There are companies that will send field crews out to conduct a comprehensive assessment, including the estimated residual life of all hydrants. This information is vital for planning and funding improvement projects, as well as determining how to schedule future maintenance needs.
Flow and Pressure Testing
Flow and pressure testing fire hydrants can identify how much water can be delivered during an emergency. By performing a flow test, pressure test and mechanical test on a recurring basis, crews can ensure problems are immediately identified and corrected.
All tests are conducted according to established testing standards. Older hydrants can be updated to remove chances of contaminating the water system.
Mechanical inspections are conducted to remove and grease caps, bleed out air and pressurize the barrel so it is fully operational. Multiple steps ensure each essential part of the hydrant works properly. Corrections and replacements are completed as needed if there are issues.
Repairs Correct Mechanical Problems
Repairs primarily focus on making corrections to operational and mechanical discrepancies that can work against fire hydrants at the least opportune time. Doing this is crucial given that replacing the hydrant with a new on ca cost upwards of 20 times more than it costs to service or replace defective parts.
Ultimately, communities and local municipalities should actively work to make sure hydrants are fully operational at all times. Each one should fully meet industry standards and specifications to avoid making things worse during an emergency situation.