Importance of Fire Hydrant Inspection
Fire hydrants are an essential part of fire safety for homeowners and owners of commercial property. These devices can help prevent further property damage and keep people safe. They are often legally required on commercial and private property. Therefore, routine fire hydrant inspection and maintenance are critical.
The Importance of Fire Hydrant Inspections
It is easy to take fire hydrants for granted. After all, they are found everywhere, and in most cases, people only think about them during a fire emergency.
Unfortunately, without routine inspections, there is no way to tell if the hydrant will work when you need it.
Hydrants are designed to channel a lot of water quickly, ensuring the fire department has adequate resources to extinguish a fire promptly. But if the pressure and volume aren’t adequate, putting out a fire can be far more challenging than it needs to be.
Over time, pipes can experience blockages. Neglected hydrants may also have a jammed opening valve, which can take a long time to release – using up precious time in a real emergency. Routine fire hydrant inspections identify any issues with a hydrant to ensure that it works great if needed during an emergency.
Components of a Fire Hydrant Inspection
Fire hydrants can also experience damage from wear and tear, corrosion, or blockages, which may prevent them from working properly in a fire emergency. In addition, building and property owners often have legal obligations to ensure operational hydrants. Therefore, a fire hydrant inspection is the best way to verify functionality.
NFPA 291 requires that fire hydrant flow tests be performed every five years and inspections be completed annually. Two primary types of fire hydrants are wet and dry barrels. While these hydrants work differently, they require a fire hydrant inspection annually.
During a fire hydrant inspection, the fire safety professional will complete the following tasks:
- Inspect the hydrant for visible signs of damage due to vandalism or accident
- Look for obstructions or anything that may prevent access to the hydrant
- Verify the hydrant work properly and water drains correctly
- Check the interior components of the hydrant to ensure nothing is restricting water flow
- Verify all outlets are appropriately placed so that the fire department can connect to a pumper when required
- Check the drain to make sure it closes
- Verify that the ground and hydrant outlets are at the proper clearance level
- Check for cracked or missing caps
- Look for leaky or broken nozzles, gaskets, and valves
- Check for main valve leaks
- Check water flow using a pressure gauge
After an inspection is performed, a report must be filed with the local authorities. This report should record all issues and repairs along with the pressure reading, date, and time. If the hydrant needs repairs, fire hydrant maintenance should be completed as soon as possible since you never know when an emergency will occur.