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The Hydrant – Service It We Must (Yoda)

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

The Hydrant – Service It We Must (Yoda)

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Today’s blurb is going to be a little different. Last time I mentioned the Hydrant – Our Silent Friend, but now it is time to look at taking care of it. Why? That’s a good question. Hopefully you will never need to use a hydrant, but unfortunately fires happen and the last time I checked, water was the best way to extinguish them. I know that in my prime, there were hydrants that I could not take the cap off: the 2 ½ or the steamer connection. I have put a large hydrant wrench with a cheater bar and standing on it still wouldn’t break it loose. I don’t know whom is responsible for your department’s hydrant maintenance but let’s play like it’s you.

The first thing you need is to have the location of all hydrants in your town or city.

Next they need to be divided into districts, either by station area, run area, or generalized area for service consistency and responsibility. There is nothing worse than having a task that everyone thinks that everyone else is doing it.

Now that we have the areas divided up, lets make out a card on each hydrant. You will need its physical location and map or district coordinates if you use map books. That way, after you paint the number on the hydrant, oh yes, you need to do that too. You can do that however best suits you, but we have found that by starting at the top of each hydrant, map, or fire district, we start there with 1. For example district # 2921-1. This would mean it is in the top left corner of fire district (map page) 2921. And so on throughout the district. By doing this, the maintenance, accidents, or whatever on that hydrant are always available for reference. You also need a columns for service dates and repairs, and amount of water flow.

Now it is time to actually go out and service the hydrant. You will need a grease gun, oil for the oil filled ones, an allen wrench and a small adjustable wrench or open end wrench to remove the oil plug in the bonnet… And a can of spray graphite. You can purchase this from companies and it has penetrating oil as well as graphite. This is used on the threads after the caps have been removed.

Now we are standing in front of the hydrant, clean away the weeds, debris and stuff, then remove all of the outlet caps. Check for a clean barrel, no leakage or rust, or foreign objects, tennis balls, rocks, or intentional blockage. Now check the threads on the outlets. If they are rusty, clean them with the wire brush. You did bring a wire brush, right? Oh I forgot to mention that, well, bring a wire brush. Now the threads are clean, spray them with the graphite spray and replace the 2 ½ inch caps and tighten them. With the steamer cap off, turn on the hydrant and check the flow. If you need to know the flow in gpms, use a piedo gauge, and record it on the card. Now spray graphite on the thread and replace and tighten the steamer cap. On some hydrants there is a grease fitting in the operating nut, that’s what you use to turn the hydrant on. Give it four or five good pumps with the grease gun. If it is an oil filled bonnet, remove the plug and check the oil level. Refer to the manufactures recommendations. Fill to proper level, replace the plug and you are done.

That’s number1, only 299 left to go……………………………….

Take care. Hope this has helped.

Captain Jep

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