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Water supplies


tens of thousands of fire hydrants across HFRS’s area, which are vital to supply water to fire crews when they are attending fire incidents. However, when fire hydrant valves are operated, they can create surges in water pressure that could cause pipes to burst or result in discoloured water to nearby homes. The training makes the fire crew aware of how


effective operation of fire hydrant valves will help prevent any interruption or cause damage to the underground pipe network through inadvertently creating pressure surges. Under section 81 of the Water Act 1989, no charge is made for water used to test apparatus or equipment used to extinguish fires, or for training firefighters.


Preventing waste


Although FRSs are permitted to use water from fire hydrants, it is important not to use it wastefully. This applies particularly during periods of drought, or if there is a known shortage for other reasons in any specific area. HFRS takes the responsibility to ensure that water is not wasted very seriously. Aside from any firefighting incidents during the months of May and September, firefighters can take part in The Fire Fighters Charity National Car Wash, which helps raise funds for important health and wellbeing services offered to firefighters and their families throughout the UK. Before such events happen, HFRS considers external factors such as areas of drought or supply issues, and will contact


the local water authorities to inform them of when and where the events will take place. At this point, the water authorities would inform


HFRS of any issues with the water in that area. HFRS also promotes the use of biodegradable washing liquids to ensure that they are not harmful to the environment when it cleans its vehicles, and when a fire station is taking part in a car wash charity event.


Hydrants and maintenance


As detailed in its policy document, Water Supplies for Fire-fighting, HFRS also inspects and maintains its fire hydrant stock, making provisions for future needs and requirements. Fire hydrant location is very important for


FRSs, and hydrants need to be easily identifiable for firefighting, inspection and repair purposes. Their yellow sign marked with an ‘H’ helps identify them, and the numbers on the sign relate to the size of the water main (in millimetres) and the distance of the fire hydrant cover from the sign (in metres). All fire hydrant indicator signs will be individually


marked, showing the unique fire hydrant number across the top. There are times when it is not possible to indicate fire hydrants by using this standard sign, for example, if they are located behind a fence. When this occurs, a small black arrow will indicate the direction of the fire hydrant. During an incident involving fire, the crew


attending and the control room staff can view the location of the nearest fire hydrants using


FOCUS


www.frmjournal.com MAY 2019


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