Fire Hydrant Testing
Twice annually Gainesville Fire Department conducts inspections to assure the hydrants we depend upon for suppression activities are operational, provide adequate water flow, and maintain adequate system pressure. Phase I testing occurs in the spring, and in addition to the general maintenance inspection, includes a full flow test (which sometimes requires the flowing of large amounts of water), and the documentation of static and residual pressure readings. Phase II testing occurs in the fall, and in addition to a general maintenance inspection, includes the documentation of static pressure readings only.
During both phases the area around the hydrant is inspected to be sure it is clear of obstructions (debris, shrubbery, fences) which may prevent or hinder access should the hydrant be needed. As a matter of fact, we need an area of at least 36' around the hydrant for visibility and easy operation. Repair needs are also noted during these visits and submitted to the responsible authority for immediate attention.
In addition to being a requirement of ISO (Insurance Services Office), hydrant testing provides many benefits for fire personnel. We gain firsthand knowledge of where hydrants are located, assure they are visible from the road, operational as a “first water' source, and are able to confirm they are maintained on a regular basis. The testing protocol followed by Gainesville Fire Department personnel is based upon the standards of NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) and the American Water Works Association Manual M-17.
Should you notice fire personnel checking hydrants in your area, be assured our intentions are not to waste water or destroy property; we are working to insure your safety. Should you notice a hydrant in need of repair, please call the Public Utilities Department Distribution and Collection Division: 770-535-6880.