Fire hydrant antenna

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  #1  
Old 06-24-20, 11:33 AM
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Fire hydrant antenna

Curiosity is getting the better of me

A few weeks ago I noticed the fire hydrant at the corner of the church parking lot had an antenna. They just installed a new fire hydrant just down the road from me, it has an antenna. I also noticed another fire hydrant between these and town that has one. The antennas are about 3' tall. Why would a fire hydrant have an antenna?
 

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06-24-20, 11:54 AM
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They are just markers. They make them more visible to vehicles (kind of like the tall flag on a bike or motorized cart for the handicapped) and easier to find by firemen in the event they get covered with snow by the plow.
 
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Old 06-24-20, 11:35 AM
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Our fire hydrants have what looks like antennas but are actually markers for finding the hydrant in a snow drift.


 
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Old 06-24-20, 11:39 AM
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I don't have any pics The one at the church is protected by a guard rail. None of the others are near the edge of the road. The antenna looks something like a CB radio antenna - fiberglass with a spiral wire on the outside. They recently installed wireless meters but as far as I know fire hydrants aren't metered.
 
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Old 06-24-20, 11:54 AM
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They are just markers. They make them more visible to vehicles (kind of like the tall flag on a bike or motorized cart for the handicapped) and easier to find by firemen in the event they get covered with snow by the plow.
 
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Old 06-24-20, 12:12 PM
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Pete, I just now saw your pic and that looks close. But markers so they don't get hit just doesn't make sense as everyone I've seen is protected by a guard rail or is on the other side of the ditch. I guess it might make it easier for firemen to spot although we rarely get more than a few inches of snow.
 
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Old 06-24-20, 12:38 PM
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Most of our hydrants in residential areas are several feet from the road. There is little danger of them getting hit but between what comes down and what snow is plowed.... they can easily get covered.

The one that feeds my house and neighborhood is on a corner property. The same exact place where all the snow from the corner is plowed. I usually end up shoveling it out at every snow.
 
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Old 06-24-20, 01:02 PM
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We don't get a lot of snow, usually an inch or two and then it's gone in a couple of days. We had 2 snows this past winter that stayed on the ground more than 48 hrs. The new hydrant they put in down the road is at least 10'-12' off of the road on the other side of the ditch. I wonder if there was a blanket regulation that went out and they have to put them on whether it's needed or not ??
 
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Old 06-24-20, 01:27 PM
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Maybe in your area where they are so far off the road the antenna helps it to be seen.
 
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Old 06-24-20, 02:29 PM
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It's strange, before a few weeks ago I had never seen one and now I've seen several. They've been working replacing the water mains with bigger pipe but it was obvious the one I saw halfway to town hadn't had any work done other than the addition of the marker. I swear they looked like antennas to me
 
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Old 06-24-20, 04:17 PM
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This is new to me too, but let me ask a question. Are all the "antenna's" the same color? The one in the pic above is red & white. Are they all red & white?
 
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Old 06-24-20, 05:43 PM
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Here in NJ...... they're white.
 
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Old 06-24-20, 05:51 PM
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Why not stop buy you local fire house and ask?
I agree with the other posters there just there to make them easier to see.
Right or wrong all fire departments, Volunteer or full time have to come up with budgets and have to apply for grants or some other means to get the money to stay open.
If that moneys not spent somehow on something they may not even need the money can not be returned and next time they really need something it may be denied.
I had to deal with this for many years being on a volunteer fire dept. in VA and as a come here Yankee no one wanted to hear what I had to say.
I told them all there turnout gear was out of date (only allowed to use it for 10 years) all there air packs also due to be replaced since they had been static tested three times and about 1/2 of them did not even work right.
All they wanted to do with the money they had was up date there kitchen and spend $750,000 on a new truck they did not even need.

 
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Old 06-24-20, 07:03 PM
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Hummm... one color? Kinda throws my speculation out the window... possibly.

Before I start on an explanation, I suspect, like some others its a way for fire personnel to find the hydrant in various conditions & situations, like snow, tall grass, fog etc.

I asked the initial question because some fire departments paint their fire hydrants specific colors depending on line size, water flow, PSI, etc. I thought maybe this might have been the reason for the fiberglass rod. To cut cost, it would keep them from painting the hydrants in the first place, then re-painting occasionally. A colored fiberglass rod might have been cheaper over a period of time.

OK, so why paint fire hydrants different colors?
Lets say that Main street has a 10" water main located underground. Therefore hydrants on Main St (or at least some hydrants) would be on a 10" water main/supply. That's usually good. However lets say they are old lines. Water mains/lines get gunk or some type of build up in them. I guess even chlorine or some chemical in the water could cause a build up in the line. (Kinda like cholesterol clogging up an artery), a line can get enough build up to restrict the flow to a certain degree.
Also, the pump station that, that line feeds from may be old & not up to standards, so it doesn't have the same water supply as maybe another hydrant on the same line or another 10" main across town.

Lets say That Peach Street crosses Main St. But there is a 6" main on Peach Street. Obviously this line doesn't provide as much water as a 10" line will.

All through town, firemen test fire hydrants, water pressures & water volume on each & every fire hydrant at various intervals during the year.

So, Hydrant #1 is on a 10" main & provides 60 lb of pressure & a water volume of 300 GPM.
Hydrant #25 is 1000 ft down the street also on the same 10" main but only provide 55 PSI & 260 GPM.

On Peach street, Hydrant #83 is on a 6" main, provides 45 PSI, a water volume of 150 GPM.

I think you get the picture. The fire department (or the city) has a data base & sometimes a map or other means, that shows each hydrants abilities.
So, they take this information & ...... for example:
10" mains are red
8" mains are blue
6" mains are green, etc, etc

Water Volumes of 300 - 350 is red
Water volumes of 250 - 300 is blue
Water volumes of 200 - 250 is green etc, etc.

So, they paint hydrants in various colors so firemen on the scene can readily identify how well one hydrant performs compared to another, by sight rather than having to look up every specific hydrant in the area in a data base or by communicating back & forth with dispatch.

The hydrant body is usually one color while the cap (or top) of the hydrant is a different color. Some hydrants have a 3rd or 4th color if they choose to incorporate more info like PSI or other color coded information.

In short, I was wondering if maybe the fiberglass rod may have been replacing painting the hydrants..... every hydrant.... 1000's of hydrants, in a municipality or county.
 
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Old 06-25-20, 04:21 AM
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They are red/orange and white but instead of bands like Pete's pic it's more of a spiral color.
The newest hydrant is only a 1/4 mile from the one next to the church. I'm not aware of any other ones in this rural area that are that close together. We are served by a volunteer fire dept.

Now if the water would just come back on! It went out last night and is still out Our water company is privately owned and changed hands a few yrs ago. The new company does a little better with billing but their maintenance crew is pitiful! They've spent about 10 months replacing a 1/4 mile of main line with a larger line [and installing the new hydrant] They've had over a dozen leaks and are just now starting to put the ground back together in front of all those folks houses.
 
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Old 06-25-20, 09:39 AM
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Just to be accurate, if a jurisdiction color codes their hydrants (using NFPA which is the national standard) it is based solely upon flow.

Blue >1500 GPM
Green = 1000-1500 GPM
Yellow =500-1000 GPM
Red <500 GPM

In practice rarely would I pass a hydrant as the risk of the next one being out of service was too high (dependent of course upon fire volume).

But to the OP, the marking/locating sticks I have seen are typically white with orange on top. The alternating colors in yours would seem to be more visible.
 
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Old 06-25-20, 11:15 AM
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The new company does a little better with billing but their maintenance crew is pitiful!
Give them a little time. They are busy installing the hydrant markers.
 
  #17  
Old 06-25-20, 12:56 PM
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They are fire hydrant markers used to help firefighters locate the hydrant in deep snow. They've been used in the North East for years. In my area property owners are responsible for clearing around hydrants on their property. The FD and PW clear the hydrants on public land. However hydrants don't always get cleared in the midst of a Nor' Easter.
 
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Old 06-25-20, 01:02 PM
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I moved here in 1991. The only snow we've had that was deep enough to hide a hydrant was the blizzard of '93. Maybe somebody from up north that was a good salesman got them installed.
 
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Old 06-25-20, 09:48 PM
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However hydrants don't always get cleared in the midst of a Nor' Easter.
In my area property owners are responsible for clearing around hydrants on their property.
Same here. The hydrant is not on my property but I always keep on top of clearing it off.
 
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Old 06-26-20, 03:19 AM
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No water again at least this time I got a shower last night before the water went out.
 
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Old 06-26-20, 06:45 PM
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Maybe somebody from up north that was a good salesman got them installed.
OR......Someone on the Fire Board has a brother-in-law who sells hydrant markers!
 
  #22  
Old 06-26-20, 07:37 PM
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Same thing goes on in my town with road signs. A simple curve suddenly gets 20 reflective, bright yellow arrow signs even though the curve is not an accident location.
 
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Old 06-30-20, 04:24 PM
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Some of you guys are overthinking it!

Yes, the 'antennas' are just markers for hydrants, very common in snow country, but they also make it easy to spot from a distance if you're a FF, searching for a hydrant (even have seen it here in Raleigh NC)

Think about trying to find a 2-1/2 or maybe 3 foot tall hydrant, either from the seat of a fire truck or on foot. Even if you know where a hydrant is supposed to be, having it wave its fluorescent litttle hand up in the air will help you find it!

(not to mention if some knucklehead parks illegally close to a hydrant. Try finding a hydrant when some jerk has parked his Beemer next to it!!
 
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Old 06-30-20, 05:07 PM
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The ones around here are reflective, red and white stripe, I think, to show up in headlights at night. That would be useful snow or no snow.
 
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Old 07-01-20, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by marksr
The antenna looks something like a CB radio antenna - fiberglass with a spiral wire on the outside.
First, they're reflective markers so that the firetruck arriving at the scene on a dark stormy night can quickly and easily identify "where is the #!&^ hydrant?!?"

Second, if there is a wire, I'd make an educated guess that it is a "liability arrestor."
Here's the scenario. Lightning strikes near a 20 McMansion cul-de-sac, the induced current from the bolt will fry most of the 4k tvs, along with computers, phones and tech gadgets. When looking for somebody with deep pockets to blame/sue, the water company gets dragged in, under the theory that ALL of the damaged equipment is connected to a ground, and all of the grounds are connected to the water line, and the water lines are all connected to the fire hydrant, and so if the lightning hit the fire hydrant, that could cause tens or hundreds of thousand of dollars of damage to the electronics in the neighborhood.

Which is why you want to be able to say "No, each of our fire hydrants has a fiberglass lightning arrestor."
 
 

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