A fire hydrant is one of the most vital tools for a firefighter to use when they are in the heat of the battle against burning flames. That’s why, every year, the Marquette Fire Department makes sure they are functioning properly and providing enough flow to extinguish any concerns.
This year’s annual fire hydrant testing is already underway on the east side and center strips of Marquette, and will be taking place throughout the next two months.
One of the main purposes of the check-up is to ensure that responding officers have the proper water pressure needed to take down a blaze.
“We test all the fire hydrants in town to give us an idea of what is available in the system”, Marquette Fire Inspector Lt. Jeff Green explains. “Different areas of the city offer different volumes of water and it’s very important obviously to know what we can expect in the areas so that if we have an incident, we know what kind of water flow and water supply we’ll have.”
After testing, each hydrant is then marked with a specific color so firefighters know how much volume is available at a glance. The caps vary between red, orange, green, and blue, in ascending order. Red hydrants with gold trim found in the downtown area are merely decorative and usually signify blue or green caps of high volume.
“Based on the hydraulic calculations that we do, we paint the caps on the hydrants to give us an idea of what they water flow is. If there’s a major structure fire and the coloring dictates that we look for water some where else, we can do so rapidly, efficiently, and apply the amount of water we need to do the job,” Green added.
Due to the large volume of water being run through the distribution systems, homeowners may experience slightly discolored water for short period of time during the testing process in their area. However, running a faucet for a few minutes will clear out any sediments that may be in the household’s water system.