One piece of equipment that firefighters often take for granted is the fire hydrant. It is as vital to the operations as any other piece of equipment! However, the fire hydrant is often overlooked because it’s not carried on the apparatus like our other tools.The wet barrel hydrant is used exclusively in milder climates, where there is no chance of it freezing.
Wet Barrel Components:
The wet barrel fire hydrant has a number of advantages that the dry barrel does not have. The biggest advantage is that all the mechanical parts used in its operation are located above ground. This makes it much easier to access should repairs need to be made on it.
Another nice feature of the wet barrel style hydrant is the location of the valve. The valve is right at the caps, which means the caps cannot be removed and debris placed in the barrel. This is a constant problem with the dry barrel hydrant in the urban setting. Plastic bags are the worst as they plug the intakes on the pump.
Because the valves are all independent, adding another discharge line during operations is much quicker, as the hydrant does not have to be shut down. Just connect another line to whichever discharge valve is available and, once connected, operate the valve associated with it to flow water. It’s just that easy.
The wet barrel hydrant consists essentially of a bury section and a top section. The bury section is located underground and provides the inlet for the water from the branch connection, which is then connected to the water main.
The top section, which is also commonly called the body of the hydrant, extends vertically from the burysection. This top section is the main body where all the outlet valves and hardware are located. Each valve is associated to an independent outlet nozzle, which controls the flow of water. By attaching the hydrant wrench to the valve nut opposite the nozzle selected for use, and turning it counterclockwise, the valve will open and the water will begin to flow. To shut the valve down, the firefighter will need to turn the nut clockwise.
All outlet nozzles require a cap on them when the hydrant is not in use; this protects the threads from becoming damaged.