Fire Hydrant Do's and Don'ts

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Fire Hydrant
© 2006. Homeland Securities, LLC.

Fire hydrants are the vital tap into the areas water source that fire fighters need to put out fires. They are spread throughout town to allow quick access to water when it is needed. These appliances hold back the thousands of gallons of minute of water that run under our city. When opened, hydrants can provide anywhere from 500 to 3,500 gallons every minute! But if not controlled, an open fire hydrant can cause great damage to property. 

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The DO’s for fire hydrants:

  • Leave them be. They should only be used by emergency personnel. There are temporary accesses permitted by the water purveyors that allow contractors to access water off hydrants for construction work. Those connections are done in a way to ensure the hydrant is still accessible in the event of a fire. 
  • Keep them clear. Keep vegetation from growing over hydrants and keep snow shoveled away during the winter. Keep at least 3 feet clear all around the fire hydrants. If the hydrant is along the side walk in front of your house, it’s your responsibility to keep it clear year round per City of Bend and Deschutes County ordinances. Oregon Fire Code 507.5.5; Bend Code 5.35.020; Deschutes County Code 12.35.110 
  • Report suspicious activity. If you see any illegal activity (tampering with them or a car has damaged one) please call the non-emergency dispatch at 541-693-6911.
  • Report damage. You can contact the local water purveyor (there are 5 in the Bend area, including the City of Bend) if you notice any problems with the hydrant, including leaks, damage, etc. If you don’t know what water purveyor to call, call your local fire department to help determining who to call. 
The DON’Ts for fire hydrants:
  • Don’t park in front of a fire hydrant. 10 feet should be left on each side of a hydrant along a street to allow clear access at all times. Delay in getting access to a hydrant can delay the fire department in getting water on a fire.
  • Don’t tamper with them. Hydrants are emergency use only. Do not attempt to open any of the ports or valves. 
  • Don’t paint them. Hydrants are the property of the water purveyor. If you find one that needs painting, call the purveyor. They are colored red to make them quick to find by fire crews during an emergency.
Help the fire department keep these vital firefighting tools available for use at all times.