During a semi-annual fire hydrant testing period and several fire-related incidents, members of the Hinesville Fire Department recently reported increased obstruction of fire hydrants.
Hydrants should be accessible at all times so firefighters can gain immediate access in case of emergency; however, officials are having issues with residents blocking hydrants, according to Capt. Andra Hart.
“It is extremely important to maintain at least a 3-foot clearing around the circumference of the hydrants,” Hart said. “This allows firefighting operations to be conducted quickly and efficiently by hooking the water supply to the hydrants during structure fires without inference. Shrubs, trees or anything else that could create an obstruction cause delays in our efforts to begin firefighting operations as quickly as possible, which can result in loss of life or major structural damage to the property.”
According to the International Fire Code 2012 Edition 507.5.4, unobstructed access to fire hydrants should be maintained at all times. A fire department shouldn’t encounter obstacles or hindrances when it comes to gaining immediate access to fire-protection equipment or fire hydrants. A 3-foot clearing should be maintained around the circumference of fire hydrants. It also prohibits planting flowers, shrubs, trees or anything else that may cause an obstruction around the fire hydrants and cause a delay in operations.
With the cooperation of community residents who upheld the law and assisted in clearing areas and, HFD now can work efficiently to save lives, property and the environment through preparedness, prevention and emergency-response services, according to Hart.
To learn more about fire education, go to the department’s website at www.cityofhinesville.org/fire or call 876-4143.