Colors help Southington firefighters identify hydrants

SOUTHINGTON — Over the last few months, fire hydrants in town have been getting a splash of color added to them with light blue, green, red or orange caps. The change isn’t for aesthetics, but for a color coding system that helps firefighters quickly identify which hydrants have higher water flow.

Fire Chief Harold L. Clark said the Fire and Water Department have been working together for about eight months on the color coding project after identifying the hydrants over the past few years.

The colors were established by the National Fire Department Association. Light blue is the code for the best water flow with 1,500 gallons per minute or greater, green is 1,000 to 1,499 gallons per minute, orange is 500 to 900 gallons per minute and red means less than 500 gallons per minute.

“As it was, all the fire hydrants (looked) exactly the same and we didn’t know unless we remembered where larger mains were and on what side of the road,” Clark said.

Water Superintendent Fred Rogers said the color coding was also part of the department’s hydrant maintenance program. Water Department staff worked in conjunction with the fire department to test the flow of each hydrant in town and then assign a color based on the results.

Rogers said the Water Department purchased equipment to do the testing, trained employees how to do it, mapped out hydrants and took into consideration the age, size, and the last time the hydrant was maintained.

“We took a lot of things into consideration,” he said.

Hydrants were painted all summer, said Erik Semmel, chairman of the Board of Water Commissioners. Every hydrant will be color coded.

“We have a ton of them so they’ll be looked at over the next month to get them properly painted as soon as we can,” Semmel said.

Clark said he is excited to be working with the Water Department and happy to see the changes. They are working to update maps inside the fire trucks to match with the hydrants.

“It was something that needed to be looked at,” Rogers said. “It’s good information for the fire department so when they pull up to the scene of a fire, they know what flow they’ll get out of that hydrant. It’s really for public safety.”

fduffany@record-journal.com (203) 317-2212 Twitter: @FollowingFarrah



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