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  • Flushing Hydrants?

    Is it an SOP in your fire department to flush a hydrant before you hook in your supply line to flush out sediment in the pipe/main and remove obstacles left by vandals such as soda cans, tennis balls and what ever else can fit into a plug?

    Or do you just rely on the hydrant to work based off of the last time it was tested?

    Regardless of what the circumstances are, whether it be a working fire or in training, the Chauffer or Hydrantman should always flush the hydrant you are about to connect to to prevent any problems such as clogged supply lines, sediment in the pump manifold or having some sediment, even rocks get caught in the nozzle of the attack line.

    How many of you have ever encountered problems like the ones mentioned above as a result of not flushing the hydrant before hooking in your supply line?


  • #2
    It's an SOP for our Department to flush before we hook up and charge, and it makes all the sense in the world to do so. I've never seen anything foreign come out ewhen we have flushed, but you never know... and the one time you don't flush the hydrant could just be the one time you have a problem...

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    • #3
      You need to flush the hydrant. But you need to flush it correctly. Open the stem and allow the barrel to fill slowly, this prevents the bad stuff from jamming up in the bonnet. It will flow out the steamer connection instead assuring no debris will get into the pump.

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      • #4
        Our Sop is to flush before we hook up to the hydrant to
        1. Make sure no garbage is in the barrel.
        2. Make sure the hydrant works.
        One incident we had a trailer fire. Drop a 5" line from the hydrant. The hydrant was not flush. The nozzles clogged from a screening type stone that pass though the screen on the pump and out the attack lines. Hell of time not to flush the hydrant.

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        • #5
          I live in a small town w/o a water system. We have "dry" hydrants. Hydrants that are in lakes, rivers, etc. We tryto locate the hydrant ends in a part of the body of water where we won't get build up. but if we have to flush them..we just back flush with the pump. There's usually enough pressure comming fromthe tank through the intake to flush the sediment out. If not, we hook up an adapter and throw a line on it and charge it to about 75PSI to blow the crap out. As far as flushing every time we tap..no...We tighten out caps down beyond hand tight(haven't had a prob with people putting crap in them) and we can look at the distal end of the pipe in the H2O to see if it's clogged

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          • #6
            Our municipal outside workers flush the hydrants once a year as a part of routine maintenance. We are taught to flush the hydrant before we connect our supply lines. This is seldom done though, most FFs seem to forget this during incidents.

            I have often had a nozzle "loose" it's pattern after a little while of continuous flow. Usually flushing the nozzle clears it although I have seen pebbles stuck in a fog nozzle that had to be physically forced out. Those rocks had to pass through the pump impeller. Ouch!

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            • #7
              We flush the hydrant prior to charging the line. That's what I was taught when I went through the Fire Academy. Failure to flush the hydrant resulted in deficiency points.

              Considering what can happen to us when a nozzle fails due to silt/sediment/stones and other things that can be found in a hydrant, taking a few seconds to flush the hydrant makes an awful lot of sense



              ------------------
              Firefighters: rising to accept the challenge!
              Captain Gonzo

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              • #8
                I was always taught to flush a hydrant before hookup, and it is standard practice in my dept. Even after flushing there is still always the possibility of something coming through the line, but at least it is reduced. I've only had minor incidents, with small pebbles found in the nozzle strainers, and have also found pieces of plastic several times. So we got into better habits of checking the nozzles more often. A few times we actually found it was from the nozzle itself. Other then that, I've had a few times where the hydrant jammed up when trying to close em.

                ------------------------------------------
                The above are my thoughts/opinions only and do not reflect that of any dept./agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

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                • #9
                  If you're in a rush and you don't flush, something bad might happen that'll make you blush. (okay, I won't quit my day job!)
                  We always flush first, I've seen some nasty stuff come out of hydrants that make me very glad the time was taken to flush the hydrant. It's a good practice.

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                  • #10
                    Our Dept requires to flush the hydrant before hooking up. The worst thing I have seen was a loss in pump proficientcy from a 1500 gpm to a about a 1000 - 1250 as a result of gravel inbedded in the fins of the impellers of the pump. Was it a result of not flushing the hydrant would be a good ?also. Since at the base of the barrel it is common to find gravel and in thinking about while answering your ?. I wonder if the gravel could have been introduced into the pump during operations rather then a direct result of not flushing a hydrant.

                    tc/ss

                    By the way ^5 to your post by Tillerman GB.

                    Fight like you Train and Train like you Fight

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                    • #11
                      If all the hydrant caps are in place and tight, we do not require flushing before charging.

                      In my 30+ years of active fire service, I have never witnessed a problem in a hydrant with the caps in place. Most of the yahoos in DC don't take the time to remove a cap - they just drop their trash where they stand.

                      We have had plenty of problems with standpipe and sprinkler connections, both exterior and riser outlets.

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                      • #12
                        Being from a small to mid-sized volunteer department, we are supposed to flush the hydrant before charging the supply line. It is not always done, however, and even if it is, it may not get us much, since the local water company seems to only flush a few choice hydrants in our township.

                        One hydrant we were using to fill our tanker during a relay operation took over 4,000 gallons before it *started* getting clear.

                        Just a couple of weeks ago, I pumped on a trailer fire, and after unhooking the 5" from the pumper, the water in the hose was still slightly discolored. This was after the relief valve had been open for a good 5 minutes (couldn't figure out why there was water coming out of the bottom of the truck... Finally realized it was the pressure relief valve and adjusted it.), and I had pumped several hundred gallons on the handlines.

                        So, no, we don't always flush before we use (we should though), and even if we did, sometimes it's just a big waste of time waiting for the water to get clear. AFAIK, we haven't ever had problems with an un-flushed hydrant, but then again, we aren't a big city department either...

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