October 8, 2012

Fire Hydrant Importance

October is Fire Prevention Month.  Des Moines Water Works collaborates with City of Des Moines Fire Department and other communities’ fire departments to properly maintain fire hydrants.

There are more than 10,000 hydrants in the Des Moines Water Works distribution system, and while fire hydrants are a familiar sight, we should all be aware of the importance of each hydrant to the community – not only for firefighting, but also for operation and maintenance of the water system.

Because they are so important, the fire hydrants in Des Moines Water Works distribution system receive a lot of attention.  Each public fire hydrant receives regular maintenance on a three-year rotating schedule. In addition, each year in the fall, every fire hydrant is inspected to ensure it is not holding water that could freeze and to confirm that it has not been hit by vehicles or damaged in some other way.  Most hydrants in the system are designed to break away if they are hit by a vehicle.  This reduces damage to the vehicle and the hydrant and allows the hydrant to be returned to service quickly.

Des Moines Water Works is responsible for maintenance of the fire hydrants that fire fighters use to protect our community. Help the local fire department and Des Moines Water Works 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 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 fire protection of your home, business and others around you.

Tip: Do you know why the tops or “bonnets” of fire hydrants are painted different colors? Learn here.

Posted by: Ted Corrigan 4 Comments
Labels: , , , , Posted in About Us, Customer Service, Infrastructure

4 Responses to “Fire Hydrant Importance”

  1. October 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm, How a Fire Hydrant Works | Des Moines Water Works said:

    […] How a Fire Hydrant Works October is Fire Prevention Month.  Learn why fire hydrants are so important to fire protection here. […]


  2. November 01, 2017 at 12:08 pm, Terri said:

    Great article! I hope you don’t mind that I use the text for a page on our website. THANKS!


  3. August 07, 2019 at 3:20 pm, Skylar Williams said:

    Thank you for your tip to not plant flowers or shrubs around fire hydrants. The fire hydrant near my home has been leaking. I will make sure to keep this tip in mind after I find somebody to fix the leaking.


    • August 08, 2019 at 8:29 am, Laura Sarcone said:

      Hello, Skylar
      If you email me at [email protected], I can have someone look at the fire hydrant (if it is in DMWW’s service territory)


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