It can be a matter of life or death for buildings to have the water supply needed to suppress and extinguish a fire. Fire hydrants provide the water for fire department hoses to put out a fire. It is important to regularly inspect and test fire hydrants to help keep them operational.
Types of Fire Hydrants
There are two main types of fire hydrants: wet barrel and dry barrel hydrants.
- Wet Barrel Hydrants – This type of hydrant is connected directly to the pressurized water source and the barrel is always filled with water.
- Dry Barrel Hydrants – These hydrants are typically used in areas that get below freezing temperatures. The upper barrel section of the hydrant is dry, and the hydrant is separated from the pressurized water supply by a main valve below the ground.
Inspection & Testing Requirements for Fire Hydrants
NFPA 291 requires that fire hydrant flow tests be performed every 5 years and fire hydrant inspections be performed annually. Inspections and testing should be performed by a licensed professional.
Annual Hydrant Inspections
Annual inspections check that hydrants are in proper condition and verify that hydrants are operational. Some things that are checked during an annual inspection include:
- Look for obstructions that could interfere with hydrant operation
- Check for cracked or missing caps
- Look for leaky or broken nozzles, gaskets, and valves
- Check for the correct above ground hydrant height
- Determine if the hydrant needs to be painted
- Check for main valve leaks
- Check water flow using a pressure gauge
After the inspection is performed, an inspection report must be filed with the proper local authorities. The inspection report should record all issues and repairs along with the static pressure reading, date and time.
Hydrant Flow Tests
Fire hydrant flow tests are performed to determine the pressure and rate of flow available at various locations. These tests measure the static and residual pressure as well as the rate discharge. The data from flow tests is used to uncover blockages or infrastructure problems in a water distribution system. It is also used to properly design fire sprinkler systems for commercial and residential buildings.
WSFP Performs Fire Hydrant Inspection & Testing
At Western States Fire Protection, we are licensed to provide fire hydrant inspections and testing at all of our locations. Our technicians can perform both annual hydrant inspections and fire hydrant flow tests. If you are interested in learning more about our fire hydrant services, contact us today!