How does a Fire Hydrant work?

Alex Williams
9 Min Read

There are several inventions that have been quite not understood by many people. You can see them but cannot really figure out what or how it works. And in this context, you must be familiar with a fire hydrant that you saw but never given a thought about its working. Well, today you will get to know how does a fire hydrant work, how does a water hydrant work, how does a dry hydrant work, and how does a hydrant booster work. 

1. What is a Fire Hydrant?

The red colored small pillar type thing on the sidewalks from which water flows out with great pressure if it is broken is known as a fire hydrant, fireplug, or a fire cock. They are located near buildings, parks, mines, industrial areas, etc. for easy supply of water when needed. (See How do Solar Powered Lights work?)

2. When was it invented?

During the 16th century, firefighters dig holes into the wooden main pipelines to fill up an instant wet well. It was helpful to fill the buckets to extinguish the fire. Later on, metal hydrants were put up in alternate places with a main connection to the underground pipelines. The first iron hydrant was patented by Frederick Graff, chief engineer at Philadelphia Water Works in 1801. (See What is the Best Lava Lamp to buy?)

3. Why was it invented?

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It was invented to provide an easy flow of water to the fire trucks to extinguish fires. The fire trucks need a huge and fast supply of water and the water hydrants provide such high-pressure water. (See 3 Types of Native American Shelters)

4. How does a Fire Hydrant work?

There is a wide variety of connection points and valves in a fire hydrant. A special pentagonal wrench is used to remove the valve cover for the water supply. Firefighters attach a hose to the valve and the valve is opened for the water to flow. Beneath the hydrant, the riser (a connective pipe) connects it to the main water pipeline. This line is always kept under pressure such that any small difference in pressure leads to presetting of pressure by the Jockey Pump. Also, check out how does a Water Wheel work?

5. What is a Jockey Pump?

It is a substitute pump that is installed under the fire hydrant. Whenever there is a drop in preset pressure under the hydrant, due to leakages, the Jockey Pump operates automatically and stops when the pressure reaches the preset levels. (See How to Build a Tunnel Underwater?)

6. What are the Components of a Fire Hydrant?

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A fire hydrant contains the following components.

  • Branch pipes and nozzles,
  • Couplings,
  • Fire brigade connections,
  • Firefighting pumps and accessories,
  • Hose reel,
  • Hoses,
  • Instrumentation circuits,
  • Landing valves,
  • Maintenance valves,
  • Panels,
  • Piping, and
  • Wiring. Also, check out what are Examples of Screw as a Simple Machine? 

7. How much Water is released from a Hydrant?

Mostly a fire hydrant supplies 950 liters (250 gallons) or more water per minute. This pressure allows the firefighters to fight off the fire easily and quickly. Also, check out what are the Uses of Water in our Daily Life?

8. What are Different Functions of Fire Hydrants?

Still wondering how does a fire hydrant work? Supplying water to fire trucks is the primary function of a fire hydrant. But it also performs some other functions as mentioned below.

  • It can be used as a Line Flusher. Due to its capacity and flow power, it is used to clean the main distribution line.
  • It is used to test the hydraulic capacity of the distribution system.
  • It is also used for other works like construction purposes, sewer cleaning, street cleaning, etc. (See How does a 2 Cycle Engine work?)

9. What are the Different Types of Fire Hydrants?

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Depending upon their working there are two types of fire hydrants, namely, dry fire hydrants and wet fire hydrants. (See What are Examples of Elements in Everyday Life?)

10. What is a Dry Fire Hydrant?

It is a non-pressurized water system installed permanently in a natural water source, like lakes, rivers, or ponds. It has the appearance of a standpipe. It also serves the main purpose of supplying water to the fire trucks to extinguish fires. But these hydrants are more relevant in colder regions where the water on the surface of the earth freezes due to low temperature. (See How to Size a Rough Opening for Bifold Door?)

11. How does a Dry Hydrant work?

One end of the dry hydrant pipe is under the water source with a strainer to avoid any debris, fish, or any other substance from entering the pipe with water. To understand how does a fire hydrant work, see that another end is above the ground which connects the hose from the fire truck. The dry hydrants help in providing water in liquid form in colder regions without any damage to the pipelines. As the hose is connected the inner valve opens up allowing the water to come up, it flows through the fire truck pipe.  (See How Cranes Work?)

12. How does a Water Hydrant work?

Water hydrants are the ones you saw on the sidewalks and their connection to the main pipeline makes them beneficial to firefighting. However, they are only relevant for areas where the temperature does not go below freezing point. (See Do Water Towers Hold Water?)

13. How does a Hydrant Booster work?

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It is a point that provides additional water supply to the fire hydrant at times of extreme fire conditions. It is located such that it is easily and readily accessible to provide protection to firefighters. It helps the firefighters to increase the pressure and volume of water supplied from a hydrant. Must read 5 types of road construction.

14. Why are Fire Hydrants colorful?

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), all fire hydrants must be color-coded. They indicate the type of water source to which the hydrant is connected. They also indicate the amount of water pressure provided by the hydrant, which is another component in knowing how does a fire hydrant work.

  • Red indicates low flow approx. 1893 liters (500 gallons) per minute or less.
  • Orange indicates marginally adequate, somewhere between 1893 and 3781 liters (500 to 999 gallons) per minute.
  • Green hydrants are good for residential purposes and provide flow at 3785 to 5678 liters (1000 to 1500 gallons) per minute.
  • Blue or light blue hydrants provide the highest flow with more than 5678 liters (1500 gallons) per minute.

So, today you got to know about how does a fire hydrant work, how does a dry hydrant work, and how does a hydrant booster work. It is time to share this information regarding how does a water hydrant work with everyone. (See Why Are Fire Trucks Red?)

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