Sunday, May 8, 2016

Fire Hydants

Fire Hydrants, both dry and wet barrel types, will be shown.  There are numerous inspection/maintenance standards for hydrants.  NPFA 25 applies to most, but not all privately owned hydrants in the United States, publicly owned units may fall under a number of standards.

Most common problem here is lack of testing and maintenance.  Where testing is done, particularly by public utilities, it is often not done at full pressure and flow.

Below, a damaged hydrant.  Damage likely a result of vehicular impact damage, possibly a snow-plow.

Inspecting for drainage and threads:

Back side of same hydrant.  Inspecting make/model and year of manufacturer to confirm unit is not subject to recall (American Darling brand and a few others are subject to recall).
Note, no "S" safety chain is installed, a deficiency.

Units is snow areas should have snow flags.  This flag is being held in place with tape. The S chain appears to be present.

This next dry barrel hydrant failed at a converted trash-to-energy power plant:

At the same facility we find a hydrant with a rounded operating stem.  The failure mode is likely use
of an incorrect tool by plant personnel:

Make sure you understand local conditions and color codes.  The hydrant below is a "high pressure" hydrant, part of a specialized fire fighting loop at a university.

Unit below is missing a S-chain and is in an ideal location for a snow flag.

An all too common sight below.  Hydrant needs paint ("TLC").  Missing S-chain.  I would question the date of the hydrant's last pressure/flow test:

Conversely, the unit below looks normal.  The barrel color typically indicates ownership, whereas caps and bonnet color indicates flow rate.  Recommend a snow flag.

What is under the "bucket" in the photo below?

The remains of a fire hydrant (under the bucket), completely sheared.

Below, another dry barrel hydrant showing lack of exterior maintenance. S-chain.

Another case for a snow flag.  It happens to be offices of a fire protection contractor:

Paint.  A snow flag.  A possible riser nipple is needed, this one is too low to the ground, a hydrant wrench probably won't clear on the butt connections/caps:

Dry barrels are easily buried by snow in the northern 1/2 of the United States:

And another one:

No S-chain on the 2.5" butt connections:

A well marked out of service hydrant:

Below we have a hydrant with S-chains not attached to the 2.5" butt connections:

Below, we have two different sized hydrants.  There is no explanation:

Here we have a fire department with hydrants on in its landscaping.  Are these decorative or operational? Decorative units would be prohibited:

And more from the fire department.  Are these operational?

Back at the Fire Department.  Again, decorative or operational hydrants here?

Is the hydrant below operational?  Is the traffic cone on the hydrant to aid in visibility? Would traffic bollards be more appropriate?

Below, a crazy scientific experiment?  A hydrant that suffered serious damage from poor maintenance and a "Freeze Up" and is now being electrically heated/thawed?  I don't know. Sorry. One of a very few photos that is courtesy of others.

The hydrant below is no longer operational.  It is has apparently come apart during operation:

The unit below appears to have suffered from vehicular impact damage:

A dry barrel hydrant that doesn't drain is shown below:

The dry barrel hydrant below requires maintenance:

A riser nipple, snow flag, and maintenance are required for the hydrant below:

The following wet barrel hydrant has a leak:

The following two (2) photos show a hydrant obstructed by vegetation:

The next two (2) photos show parts removed from an in-service hydrant.  The butt connection was damaged upon arrival, it was subsequently replaced:

The next photo appears to show a "non-standard" hydrant.  It can be difficult to inspect/test non-standard systems:

Below we have a rural campus with private (gravity tank fed) hydrants and "hose houses".  Most fire protection contractors either exclude or ignore inspection/testing of hardware such as this, though the items are covered within NFPA 25:

The next photo shows the hydrant missing hardware:

A similar unit has a disconnected safety chain:

The next unit lacks maintenance:

The next two (2) photos so a hydrant on a maintenance program.  Note the tags and seals:

The next hydrant has been modified with a backflow preventer.  The backflow preventer and the hydrant should both undergo annual inspection and testing:

The barrel color (in the following case, black) often indicates ownership.  Black barrel hydrants are common.  In this case this hydrant is on a certain air force base.  You will find black barrel hydrants in some major US cities. Don't confuse barrel color with operational status:

The following hydrant is owned and maintained by a city utility.  It may be difficult to find in dark and/or snowy weather conditions:

The following hydrant has been marked out of service (at least the 2.5" butt connection):

The next hydrant also is marked out of service.  There is no industry standard practice in marking hydrants out of service.

The next photo shows a recalled American Darling hydrant.  See the following link for more information.

Here is the inspection of a Clow brand hydrant. Clow also has recalled units, but not this particular hydrant.  See here for Clow recalls:

This next hydrant has important maintenance information noted, pump after use.  It is located in a cold weather environment and does not automatically drain:

The photos below show a recalled American Darling hydrant where the required recalled/service work HAS been performed.  The "RD" silver tag was added after the service work was completed:

The next hydrant, photographed as found (after the steamer connection was removed) at a 911 dispatch center shows an underground gasket failure:

The next photo shows a dry barrel hydrant undergoing an inspection/test, there is evidence to suggest the bonnet gasket has failed:

Below is a field modified hydrant.  An owner has installed an electric pressure switch on the barrel, presumably to detect unauthorized operation of the hydrant.  The cover of the switch is missing.

Below is a hydrant being monitored for variations in its static water pressure.  An analog-to-digital pressure transducer has been attached to the 2.5" butt connection.

Another obstructed hydrant:

The hydrant below, while brightly painted is not colored in accordance with NFPA 291 or any industry standard:

Another soon to be hidden hydrant:

Another out of service hydrant.  Notice, no industry standard marking:

A hydrant with a "for fire department use only" sign, this hydrant requires maintenance (paint job):

The hydrant below (next to house) may be for decoration purposes, if so, it should be removed.

The automobile in this next photo should be ticketed and removed:

The hydrant below is marked out of service, a 2.5" butt cap is missing.  

Below, annual inspection, testing and maintenance.  Wet barrel hydrant flow test.

Below an impaired hydrant.  No water.

Below a "quality control" flow test. This hydrant was previously flow tested by company "ABC".  A few weeks later the quality control department from "ABC" arrived on site to re-flow the same hydrant (no additional charge to the client) as part of a planned internal quality control check on company inspectors:

Below, static or residual pressures are being measured:

Below, a hydrant is being flushed before being flow tested.  Debris can damage test equipment.

Below, all caps are removed, threads are inspected and greased (graphite works best).

Close up, threads inspected and greased:

Below a hydrant with a difficult to remove steamer connection:

Debris recovered from public hydrant, during annual flow testing:

The following hydrant is being flushed, it will need more than a flow test:

Another out of service unit.  No standard method on marking these:

Below, an American Darling re-called hydrant.  No "RD" tag on this one, hence the required recall repair work has not been done:

The hydrant below did not work, it was tagged with an impairment tag and then wrapped to indicate it was not functioning.

Another flow test.  Residual pressure being measured on the right, flow rate on the left.  Note, the flow device is not UL listed, the data is not being used in design work, only for maintenance work.

The hydrant below was initially found with its underground curb box valve closed.

In one mountain community 310 hydrants were inspected and tested, 25% failed to meet industry standards.  Many didn't operate at all.  Photo of a lowly hydrant in the rural west.

Photograph below shows a non-standard hydrant in use:

Another non-standard hydrant in a unique environment:

Hydrant, lack of maintenance, obstructed.  Military installation, mid-east April 2017

Obstructed fire hydrant, military installation, Persian Gulf

No maintenance.  Military installation, Persian Gulf

Lack of bollards allows this sort of dangerous arrangement, see below.  Photo by Mark Sager.

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