Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Watch out…watch out…there’s an H about… Raising awareness of fire hydrants

A campaign’s been launched to raise awareness of parking illegally over fire hydrants across East Sussex.

There have already been a number of incidents whereby drivers have unwittingly parked across a hydrant, blocking access for routine checks.

It’s feared that if this problem is not tackled then firefighters won’t be able to hook up to the nearest water supply in an emergency.

Group Commander Matt Elder from ESFRS said:

“Time and again we see cars and other vehicles parked in places which could block our easy access to water supplies in an emergency. We are fortunate that this hasn’t caused a major problem yet and we are acting now before lives are put at risk. It doesn’t take long to check whether you are near a hydrant and we are certain the vast majority of motorists will understand why we are asking them to take extra care.”

The new campaign aims to help people know what the hydrants look like and understand how parking across them could impact on people’s safety.

A Fire Hydrant is located below ground level and covered with a plate with either the words Fire Hydrant or the letters FH.  On an adjacent position a square sign coloured yellow with a black H will be displayed, if possible.  In some locations an alternative sign is a Yellow H burned on the road. 

Know the Law and Don't Break it:
  • A person commits an offence if they damage or obstruct a fire hydrant, and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to £500 (Fire & Rescue Services Act 2004 42 (6-8).
  • It is illegal to use a fire hydrant to obtain water for purpose other than firefighting, unless authorised by the Water Authority.
  • Persons found to be using fire hydrants without the appropriate authorisation are liable to prosecution.

  1. A fire hydrant is a piece of equipment that is fixed to a water main from which a firefighter can access water for firefighting.
  2. Fire hydrants are situated in footpaths or roadways and are protected by a rectangular metal cover marked FH.
  • Nearby there will be a yellow marker plate fixed to a post or wall.
  • There may also be a yellow H in the adjacent roadway and/or the cover painted yellow.

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has in excess of 17,000 fire hydrants spread throughout East Sussex and Brighton & Hove City area. It is the responsibility of the two hydrant technicians to ensure that these hydrants are ready for use, should an incident occur. They also work closely with the Water Authority in relation the positioning of new hydrants. 

Examination of fire hydrants is carried out at set intervals, determined by risk assessment. They will carry out repairs, as appropriate, and ensure that more serious defects are forwarded to the relevant Water Authority. 

We encourage contact from the general public in relation to problems or enquiries about Fire Hydrants. Reports of damaged Fire Hydrant related equipment, are inspected and repaired as soon as possible. Please contact us, giving an accurate location as possible and details of your concern. 

Contact: East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Headquarters - Tel: 01323 462462 

Think Before you Park

In the event of a fire, it is paramount that firefighters have access to water supplies quickly.
Obstruction of a hydrant by inconsiderate parking could put the lives of your family and neighbours at risk. 

Please ensure that when parking the area is checked to ensure that a fire hydrant IS NOT obstructed. 

Concerned a hydrant is being used illegally:

Please contact East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.
Telephone 01323 462415 with as much details as possible:
  • location
  • time and vehicle
  • registration numbers etc.

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