Make Sure to Keep Fire Hydrants Clear and Visible
Poor visibility hydrant on left vs. best-case scenario on the right
Mercer Island Fire Department
(MIFD) would like to remind residents that every second counts when your home is on fire...even more so if you or a family member are inside. Therefore, it is crucial for fire safety that the nearest fire hydrant be immediately visible and available for rapid connection by the Fire Department so crews can do their job.
Recently, MIFD has responded to two house fires where the nearest hydrant was either blocked by landscaping or didn't have the clearance needed for easy access (see photos). Firefighters are trained to connect to a hydrant in less than one minute. But in both of these instances, that time rose two- or three-fold due to access issues. Luckily for the homeowners, the delayed water supply didn't impact the outcomes and all were safe.
With modern homes containing far more synthetic furnishings, the time to spontaneous combustion (known as "flashover") has dropped from approximately twenty minutes to just under four. If fire-dousing water is delayed for just a minute or two, it really could mean the difference between life and death.
Even though all MIFD engines carry 500 gallons of water, that supply can be discharged in just 30 seconds at full volume, and connecting to a hydrant is absolutely critical.
Please make sure that any hydrant near your house is up to Fire Code. The requirements are:
- 3 feet of clearance around the hydrant
- At least 18 inches above dirt to the lowest port
- And visible from 75 feet down the street