October 7, 2019

A Fire Hydrant’s Important Role in the Health and Safety of our Community

While many of us drive or walk past fire hydrants without much thought, Des Moines Water Works takes great pride in the installation and maintenance of the nearly 10,000 fire hydrants in Des Moines and surrounding communities. Fire hydrants provide an essential function in the maintenance of the water system and adequate fire protection for our community.

Every year in the fall, fire hydrant inspection or “hydrant walking” is completed to ensure all fire hydrants in the system are in working order. This annual inspection ensures hydrants have not been damaged or are not holding water that could freeze over winter, both of which would render the hydrant unusable in the event of an emergency.

While Des Moines Water Works is responsible for maintenance of the fire hydrants that firefighters use to protect our community, fire hydrants are actually used more frequently for water system maintenance. Any time maintenance is performed on the water system (i.e. water main break, valve repair, etc.), air is allowed to escape from the pipes through the hydrant, and water is flushed from the hydrant to ensure water delivered to customers following maintenance is clear. You can help Des Moines Water Works and your fire department by following these simple tips to keep fire hydrants working properly and accessible when they are needed:

  • Keep cars, bikes, toys and other objects away from fire hydrants at all times.
  • During winter months, shovel snow away from fire hydrants.
  • Mow and trim grass or weeds around fire hydrants near your property.
  • Do not plant flowers or shrubs around fire hydrants.
  • Do not paint fire hydrants – the color of the fire hydrant top is indicative of water flow available for fire protection.

Unauthorized use of a hydrant can cause significant damage to the distribution system, the hydrant, and your home or business plumbing. Additionally, it may cause damage to our water supply. Any unauthorized use of a fire hydrant may result in a $1,500 fine and misdemeanor charges.

If you notice a damaged fire hydrant or witness suspicious activity near a fire hydrant, please call Des Moines Water Works at (515) 283-8700. Your call is important to the water service and fire protection of your home, business and others around you.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone 2 Comments
Labels: , , , Posted in Customers, Infrastructure

2 Responses to “A Fire Hydrant’s Important Role in the Health and Safety of our Community”

  1. October 08, 2019 at 1:09 pm, David said:

    Are the hydrants ULFM rated?


  2. November 27, 2019 at 9:24 am, Tori Raddison said:

    I agree that you should keep cars and other things away from the fire hydrants so that they’re easily accessible. I’m glad that they do a routine inspection to make sure that all the hydrants still work. That ensures safety should they ever be needed.


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