Storz hydrant ports
"Every community has to live with the mistakes of the past on at least a portion of their water system but there is no excuse for carrying on policies of the past if they are flawed. Sit down with the local water official and identify ways to bring about measurable improvements in community fire defenses. Ask questions like, "Why are we spec'ing hydrants with threaded ports when all of our supply hose have Storz couplings?" The state of Washington leads the nation in departments spec'ing 4" and 5" Storz ports with caps and cable caps on all hydrants. Entire communities--big and small--have retrofitted all existing hydrants to firefighter friendly Storz."
--- Firefighter/consultant Larry Stevens, writing in "Your Next ISO Rating Book", available free as a download at isoslayer.com
Carl August Guido 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 steamer ports started becoming common in the USA.
"In the transmission of the heavenly waters, every hose fits every hydrant."
--- Ralph Waldo Emerson
The problem in Erie County, Ohio was that they had a variety of incompatible thread pitches on area hydrants, making mutual aid a headache. The Erie County Hydrant specs now call for a 5" Storz outlet for all hydrants county wide. Captain Bechstein, of the Perkins Township Fire Department, explains - "It was decided that since all departments now use large diameter supply hose (LDH) that a 5" STORZ insert would be the new standard for all new installations throughout Erie County...At this time 100's of hydrants throughout Erie County are now user friendly." Erie County has gone a step further by replacing siamese FDCs with a single 5" Storz coupling.
Storz equipped hydrants, of course, have desirable advantages even where a standard thread type is the rule. Quoting Larry Stevens again - "Last month, my department explained to the water department its desire to convert all 335 hydrants in town to Storz using the water department's budget. Four weeks and $37,000 later, all of the fittings were on order and the problem solved forever. Nothing will ever happen if you don't ask. The days of caps that are too tight, cheater bars, crossed threads and jammed chains are over. Now, 30-second hydrant hookups are the norm. The weight of the hose pack has been reduced significantly, because we no longer need to carry adapters to convert to big and small ports to Storz."
Canada is moving towards a 4" Storz standard for its hydrants, and Canadian hydrant and parts manufacturers have responded by offering Storz outlets as original equipment, eliminating the need for adapters. In the USA,
all now offer integral Storz steamer ports as original and replacement equipment on their hydrants.
As further food for thought on the topic of hydrant port specifications, Larry Stevens writes:
"Why do the rest of us continue to purchase hydrants with two 2 1/2" and one big port? Is it because we have always spec'd them that way? Did you know that several makers of hydrants can provide a hydrant with twin big ports or a hydrant with one 2 1/2" and two big ports for the same or less money than the old traditional hydrant? Big flows and big ports go hand in hand. Does the water guy know that all hydrants must have steamer ports, have at least a 5" barrel and a 6" or larger supply to get full ISO™ credit?"
Double steamer hydrants are the specification in a number of USA cities, including Louisville, KY, Sacramento, CA, Minneapolis, MN, and Chicago, IL. See Double Steamer Hydrants
All italicized text cited above © Copyright Larry Stevens. Used with permission.