Fire hydrants are the most essential fire-fighting equipment available. They are the only source of (unlimited) water that is dedicated to fight fire and that, usually, is situated outside a building. If a fire hydrant fails, there will be little that even professional fire fighters can do.

Fire hydrants are exposed to many elements and dangers, which make it essential that they are inspected often to limit chances of them posing as a safety risk.

When conducting a risk assessment for a fire hydrant, the assessor should ensure that fire hydrants stand in an easily accessible and unobstructed place. Valuable time can get lost when fire fighters have to try and locate fire fighting equipment during an emergency. Clear locations will help fighters to quickly access water, control fire and prevent extensive damages to property. In addition, a hydrant should be firmly fixed to the ground and away from traffic or any other elements that can damage it.

Water from a fire hydrant should always be under pressure so that it can move up the hose to the desired destination at an efficient pressure. An assessor should suggest the stipulated pressure to companies and encourage them to invite the local fire department inspector to constantly check if their water pressure is adequate. A fire hydrant will be useless during a fire emergency if water is not pressured.

Because emergencies occur anytime, companies can not to have fire hydrants that have a timely water supply. Fire hydrants should have a permanent water supply so that they are always ready for use at any time. Cutting water supplies and hoping to turn the supplies on when disaster strike will be a huge mistake. A risk assessment should see to it that water supplies to a fire hydrant are permanent. The fire department can also be asked to constantly visit premises and check, by opening the hydrant, if there is a running water supply.

All parts and valves of a fire hydrant should be clean at all times so that doesn't become a mission to connect a hose during an emergency. Rust and other hazards on the equipment can delay the connection of the hoses and in turn delay the process of putting down flames. Even if they work once in a while, companies should not overlook the importance of maintaining the standards of fire hydrants.

Like most equipment in the workplace, there are symbolic signs that represent or show the location of a fire hydrant. Symbolic signs for equipment are a legal requirement hence; employers should ensure they are always on the right side of the law. Are they correctly located and clear? Symbolic signs for a fire hydrant should be placed adjacent to the hydrant and should be visible and clear. This will speed up locating them during an emergency.

All acceptable fire hydrants should be equipped with a hydrant washer. The washer helps to seal off the coupling effectively so that there are no leaks when the hydrant is being used. A leaking hydrant can contribute to water being lost and slowing down the process of putting out a fire.

The wheel valve is one of the most important components of a hydrant because it opens the water supplies. A risk assessment should establish if this wheel can be easily turned without any struggles. An inspector should do a practical test on the wheel by turning it opening but cautiously enough not to cause any harm to property or pose a safety threat when water starts pouring out.

The lug of a fire hydrant should be functional. It should move freely so that the hose can be fixed quickly and firmly to the hydrant. Also, it is essential to establish that it moves back into position so that the hose remains firmly fixed to the hydrant while it is in use. A risk assessor should personally check the functionality of these components to ensure that there is an effective working fire hydrant.

Lastly; to prevent casual use or misuse, the hydrant requires special tools to be opened. This is usually a large wrench with a pentagon-shaped socket. Employers can make this easily available within the vicinity of a fire hydrant in a safe-guarded cubicle.

Maintain fire hydrants as they stand ready to fight a fire on your behalf in case of an emergency.

Posted date: 18th Nov 2014
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