Fire hydrants throughout the Borough require regular and routine maintenance, including painting. When the hydrants are painted, they provide higher visibility for fire crews when responding to fires and aesthetics to the neighborhood.
When fire companies arrive at a working fire, they need to be able to quickly determine which tactics they should employ and how best to supply themselves with water. There are several vital bits of information which fire companies need. Primarily, fire companies need to know how much water is available from the closest hydrant so that they may select the appropriate size hose lines for the size and complexity of the fire, but not select lines which would exceed the capacity of the hydrant and thus be ineffective. This information is known as "available flow."
Fire companies need to know the water pressure in each hydrant so that they can immediately implement the correct pumping operation at the supply hydrant. Water pressure is affected by elevation. Our community is spread over many elevations so pressures found in hydrants vary greatly. By knowing the pressure range in advance of connecting their hoses, the fire companies can implement the proper pumping operation and compensate for nearly every low pressure situation using the pumps in their fire engines.
There are also a few other bits of information which are important to fire companies, which are discussed below.
The most efficient means to convey this important information to our fire companies is to paint the hydrant tops and caps using standardized color codes. These colors give us a reasonably accurate picture as to how the hydrant should perform. They are easy to recognize and as fire crews travel the streets performing their various duties, they see these hydrants and get a feel for where the problem areas exist well in advance of a fire alarm being called in.
Since they are needed upon an immediate basis during an emergency, fire hydrants should be immediately recognizable to fire fighting forces as well as to the general public. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) specifies that fire hydrants are to be painted chrome yellow, however it accepts other body colors which were already in use at the time the standard was adopted in the 1970s. Other highly visible colors which have been used include white, bright red, chrome silver and lime-yellow.
In jurisdictions where no standard color has been established, the most important aspect is consistency. Standard colors should be adopted which, preferably, are the same throughout the region.
NFPA also recognizes that there are often functional differences in service provided by municipal and private hydrant systems. Therefore NFPA specifies that non-municipal hydrants be painted a color that distinguishes them from municipal hydrants. Furthermore, violet has been established as the international color code for non-potable water. Therefore hydrants supplied by non-potable sources should be painted violet (light purple).
Hydrant Color Codes
1500 GPM or more
Very good flows
Good for residential areas
Below 500 GPM
Having volunteers paint hydrants provides significant cost savings to the Authority. Manheim Borough Authority provides a quality work environment where volunteers are valued and respected for the role they play in contributing their time and talents.
o Because of your sense of commitment and pride for the community
o To give back to the community
o To accomplish work that is important in the community
o Receive on-the-job training
o Develop skills in a municipal environment
o Networking opportunities
o Because you believe in the cause
o Explore your strengths and use your skills and experiences to help others
The following will provide you an idea on what will be required of you to complete the project:
Gather groups or crews ( 3 people per group or crew) to assist in painting hydrants.
o Community Groups
- Volunteers will be asked to paint hydrants within designated area
- Conduct an "orientation" with groups/crews to review instructions.
- Make cardboard templates 2 ft x 4 ft with cutout.
- Provide paint and wire brushes for each group/crew.
- Divide area to be painted among all groups/crews.
- Provide plastic to each group/crew to avoid paint drips.
The Manheim Borough Authority will provide the following supplies for standard paint color schemes:
o Hydrant paint and thinner.
o Safety vests.
o Map(s) of area needing hydrants painted.
o Meeting place (optional) such as Borough Office