Step 3 The Dry Hydrant Concept
Dry Hydrant Advantages
Knowing about a quantity of available water in area streams, ponds and cisterns gives an advantage to a fire department only if the water is readily accessible. Soft or obstructed ground certainly limits access. Or, the needed water may be located so far away from where it is needed that a fire department's ability to do its job of fire control is impaired.
Mobile water supply vehicles can move water from distant sources, but the critical factor is whether or not the fire department can maintain an uninterrupted supply of a predictable rate of water at the fire scene.
Installation of dry hydrants into numerous nearby and developed water supplies eliminates the inefficiency and complexity of long-distance water shuttle operations. This arrangement also allows access to water sources from a roadway instead of having to work on soft ground immediately adjacent to the pond or stream.
Dry Hydrant Construction
Steel and Iron pipe may be used to construct a dry hydrant, but PVC plastic is frequently used because of its low cost, accessibility and low friction loss. Construction details at specific sites an vary in many ways according to local preferences and conditions.
In any area without water mains and domestic fire hydrants, the dray hydrant concept can provide a simple, cost-effective solution to the need for access to water sources without delay. A dry hydrant consists of an arrangement of piping with one end in the water and the other end extending to dry land and available for connection to a pumper. Dry hydrants have the following features:
• A non-pressurized pipe system.
• Use relatively inexpensive piping materials and other supplies.
• Are permanently installed in existing lakes, ponds, streams and cisterns.
• Provide a means of access whenever needed, regardless of weather.
• Allow years of simple operation with a minimum of maintenance.
• The time savings are many. Multiple lengths of hard suction hose extending to the water are not needed; usually one section to the dry hydrant is enough.
• The strainer is also permanently attached, saving more time. Fewer people are needed to make a hookup compared to make a conventional direct drafting hookup.
When a strategically placed dry hydrant with all-weather road access allows more water to be distributed in less time, and the water can be applied effectively on the fire, fire fighter safety is improved.
Savings can be financial, as well. For example, when the volunteer fire department in Forsyth County, Georgia used the dry hydrant water delivery system with proper training and equipment, county homeowners enjoyed a 49 percent drop in insurance rates. Fire departments also save money by reducing fuel and equipment costs through shorter transportation distances and lower operational demands. Communities can preserve more of their treated water supplies , since dry hydrants use untreated water.