Trio of technicians keep Kent’s hydrants healthy

27 May 2021

Public, Community

Most people walk past dozens of fire hydrants every single day, but many will have never thought about the hard work that goes into maintaining these vital emergency water sources.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) Water Services team is made up of six people, three of which are Water Services Technicians, who together inspect and maintain 30,000 water hydrants all over the county. The team also review and monitor other sources of Emergency Water Supplies (EWS) in Kent and Medway.

Fire hydrants provide firefighters with access to a steady flow of water to fight fires, and are used by crews whenever they need more water than they’re able to carry on fire engines.  However, if they’re ever damaged or obscured, it could waste valuable time at the scene of an emergency.

Warren, a member of the technicians trio, said: “We are here to ensure all of our fire hydrants are ready to provide water in the event of an emergency.

“Most people have hydrants located near their homes or businesses. They’re such an important water source and are regularly used by our firefighters during emergencies - it’s our job to ensure they’re maintained and working fully for those crucial moments when crews are preventing fire spread, saving lives and property.

“We also ask the public keep an eye out for their local hydrants too, because we can’t be everywhere all of the time. If they spot a fault or issue, they can report it online and then we can come out and fix it – but we urge people only to check hydrants that are in a safe location, away from roads.”

To find the location of a hydrant, look out for a yellow ‘H’, usually on pavements, lampposts, or fences. Hydrants are positioned in the ground, under an inspection chamber, normally marked with the wording ‘Fire Hydrant’, ‘FH, or ‘WO’ – which stands for ‘washout’. Members of the public should not lift hydrant covers when checking them – leave that to trained professionals.

Issues that people can look out for and report to KFRS, include:

  • Obstructions over hydrants, such as vegetation
  • Vehicles parked over the inspection chamber
  • Leaking hydrants
  • Hydrant lids which are broken or protruding above the ground