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Hydrant System Design, Installation, Testing, and Maintenance

Designing Water & Hydrant Systems
     Hydrant Design
     Hydrant Placement
     Hydrant Installation : Common Errors
     Hydrant Color Codes and Markings
     Practical Applications
     Relevant Codes and Standards
     Related Links


The Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) system as prescribed by MIL-STD 3007, provides planning, design, construction, sustainment, restoration, and modernization criteria...UFC will be used for all service projects and work for other customers where appropriate.

Adobe Acrobat Format --- 801Kb - - (117 pages) -

Running an Effective Water Supply Program

Hydrant Systems, Testing, Maintenance, Markings & Operations
Program guidelines based on Moraga-Orinda (CA) and Oakland (CA) Fire Dept. operations

Online Hydrant Flow Calculator
Beta Version, by Willis Lamm

Double Steamer Hydrants
"On mains with high fire flows, why restrict hydraulically efficient discharges to one engine per hydrant?..." - - (1 page) -

Quick Connection + Mutual Aid Considerations

Storz Hydrant Ports
"Carl Storz patented his quick coupling in Switzerland in 1890, and shortly thereafter the Storz coupling became the norm on hydrants in many parts of Europe. But it took nearly a hundred years before Storz started becoming common on hydrant steamer ports in the USA..." - - (1 page) -

Improving ISO Ratings

Your Next ISO Rating Book
The writings and experience of firefighter/consultant Larry Stevens on improving your department's ISO ratings. This is a free book-length document on a broad range of topics, including hydrants.
Microsoft Word Format. --- 1.1Megs - - (189 pages) -

Dry Hydrants

A Dry Hydrant Design for Cold Climates from Interior Alaska
"This system is very simple, and requires little to no maintenance. The hydrant is set up so the water can be blown down below the freeze line. Normally we accomplish the blow down in late September, which is late autumn / early winter around here..." - - (1 page) -

Constructing a Dry Hydrant : Start To Finish
"In any area without water mains and domestic fire hydrants, the dry hydrant concept can provide a simple, cost-effective solution to the need for rapid access to water sources. Installation starts with arranging for a large backhoe..." - - (1 page) -

Dry Hydrant Code (Rhode Island/Connecticut)
Source: USDA / Natural Resources Conservation Service

Definition: Purpose: Federal, State, and Local Laws: Operations and Maintenance: Construction Specification: Design Criteria: Capacity: Placement: Materials: Protection: more... - - (6 pages) -

Missouri Dry Hydrant Tax Credit Program
"The law provides tax credits for the installation of a dry fire hydrant system to provide fire protection and potential economic improvement for rural development of the state...The total number of credits available per fiscal year is $500,000. .." - - (1 page) -
see also: Texas Insurance Credit:

Saltwater Dry Hydrants on San Francisco Bay
"Water suction connections surround the City's waterfront to allow fire engines to draft saltwater from the Bay of San Francisco..." - - (1 page) -

Hydrant Law

Required Maintenance of Hydrants in Mobile Home Parks
California Code: "The department, in consultation with local firefighting agencies, shall adopt and implement no later than January 1, 2002, regulations that require regular maintenance and periodic inspection and testing of fire hydrants in mobilehome parks..." - (1 page) -

New Firefighting History

Fire Protection, A Complete Manual of the Organization, Machinery, Discipline, and General Working of the Fire Brigade of London.
Astonishing look back in time to the practices of the London (UK) Fire Brigade. Includes information on the use of wooden fire plugs, which were still in service in London ca. 1876. There are many vintage advertisements. Scanned book courtesy of Google Book Search.

Fire-Protection-A-Complete-Manual-1876.pdf - (423 pages) - 11Mb pdf file

Compressed Air Foam Systems

The CAFS Solution by Larry Stevens
"CAFS is the future of firefighting...What's accomplished when you drench everything in a room with water, other than creating more damage?...You could still have the big water lines for lost causes and public relations fires..." - - (1 page) -

Using Class A Foam For Structure Firefighting
Part 4: Compressed Air Foam Systems
"Once accustomed to handling lightweight CAFS hoselines, it's not easy for firefighters to go back to hauling water-filled lines...This was a fire that easily should have had a sustained fire flow in excess of 2,000 gpm with the potential of keeping fire crews on scene all night...It was brought under control using only the tank water carried on two engines" - - (1 page) -

The Next Hydrant/Hose Coupling?

Twinstar: A New Sexless Hose Coupling From Japan
"Twinstar is a sexless coupling with identical connection mechanism...Unlike the conventional sexless fire coupling, Twinstar has more connection positions...It is much easier to get engaged...Connection can be made without visual aid in complete darkness..."
See PDF files for extensive documentation in English: - - -

Specialized Hydrant Designs

Deep Snow Hydrant from Japan
"This hydrant stands over 6 feet tall, and requires two operating nuts..." - (1 page) -

Hydrants for Historic Preservation Districts
"...there are several ornate "old fashioned" looking hydrants currently available..." - (2 pages) -

Painting Fire Hydrants

Thermal Spray Removal of Lead-Based Paint
From the Viaduct Bridge at Rock Island Arsenal, IL

"Commonly used structures in the Department of Defense (DoD) that may contain lead-based paint
include bridges,catwalks, towers, water storage tanks, petroleum storage tanks, piping, steel doors,
fire hydrants...When lead-based paint shows evidence of peeling, it must be removed because peeling paint cannot be overcoated...The project documented in this report demonstrated and validated the thermal spray vitrification (TSV) process to safely and effectively remove lead-based paint..." - - (64 pages) -

Hall of Shame

Detroit Fire Department: Out of Service
"Many hydrants in Detroit havent worked in years...So many of Detroits 30,400 fireplugs are broken that the department this year ran out of yellow tags designed to alert crews that their main weapon against fires is unavailable..."
--- Detroit News - (series)

Mis-behavior: Abused and Neglected Hydrants of Israel
"People don't realize that the water hydrants are essentional to their safety. So, we find many unfunctional hydrants all over. Here are some examples: "

Illogic: Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
"Water companies, seeking to comply with ever more stringent water quality standards, are becoming increasingly concerned over the discoloration of mains water by the Fire Service testing hydrants...In practice, fire brigades report more defects during testing than at other times. It is possible that the test process itself has caused many of the defects..."

Scranton Pennsylvania Fire Hydrant Crisis
"The following is our award-winning coverage of the city's fire hydrant crisis from The Scranton Times, The Tribune and The Sunday Times. The series won first place in the investigative reporting category of the Keystone Press Association awards, and the Inland Press Association's 1999 Community Leadership Award. " --- Scranton Times

Research: Dry Barrel Freeze Protection

Preventing Fire Hydrants from Freezing
Freezing fire hydrant main valves which are around 1.2 meters below the ground has been a serious problem in cold regions The Institute has thus examined ways of overcoming this problem. ..."
See bottom of page: - - (1 page) -

At the Movies...

Will A Fire Hydrant Shoot Water Skyward When Hit By A Car, Just Like In The Movies? answers this frequently asked question - - (1 page) -


Frangible Couplings and Breakable Flanges
Links to U.S. patents specific to "traffic" model fire hydrants. - (1 page) -

Descriptive Information

Basic Info about Wet Barrel Hydrants - (1 page) -

Types of Dry Barrel Hydrants
"Dry barrel hydrants get their name from the fact that water is drained or pumped from the barrel when the hydrant is not in use. Dry barrel hydrants are pressurized..." - (1 page) -

Definitions and Names of Hydrant Components
"Definitions and Names of Hydrant Components Taken from AWWA Manual M17..." - (1 page) -

Shapes of Hydrant Operating Nuts
"Answer to a frequently asked question" - (1 page) -

Student Papers and Projects

The Design & Manufacture of Fire Hydrants
Elissa M. Wahlstrom & John J. Barrett
Florida Atlantic University - Department of Mechanical Engineering

"When designing a process to cast fire hydrants, several factors must be taken into consideration such as materials to be used, environmental factors, cost, etc...." - (1 page) -

Gestaltungsstudie fen erflurhydranten
Thomas Tauber's Industrial Design Project
(translated) "The fire-hydrant is from the area of "classic industrial design" and with its sculptural qualities is perhaps the most beautiful piece from my study time..." - (1 page) -

The Analysis of Fire Hydrant Services In Burnaby
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Canada
"I decided to create a project around the spatial distribution of fire hydrants in the area. I looked at the existing distribution of fire hydrants and I tried to determine if the current distribution best suited the needs of the area..." - (multiple pages) -

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