Kent Fire and Rescue Service launch fire hydrant initiative – plus map of Hollingbourne hydrants.

Hollingbourne Parish Council has been asked to publicise the fire hydrant initiative launched by Kent Fire and Rescue Service. A map of the Hollingbourne hydrants appear at the bottom of this page.

FIRE HYDRANT INITIATIVE PROJECT

Kent Fire & Rescue Service (KFRS) – Kent Association of Local Councils (KALC)

Background

The fire hydrants used by fire and rescue services to supply water for firefighting are called statutory fire hydrants (as opposed to private fire hydrants found on private water mains). They are owned, installed and maintained by Kent’s five water companies.

Fire hydrants are mainly found on pavements, but can also be found on the road or in nearby public spaces, such as grass verges.

Currently KFRS Water Services department inspect all statutory fire hydrants within Kent & Medway using a rolling risk based programme. There are currently 26981 statutory fire hydrants within Kent, this number however is increasing on a monthly basis due to new infrastructure being built throughout the County.

KFRS have been working in partnership with KALC to help increase community resilience within local Parish and Town Council’s (PTC) and one of the initiatives put in place is for local residents to help monitor and report fire hydrant defects and water provision issues within their local area, ensuring issues are resolved in a timely manner. The fire hydrant initiative project has been in place for 5 years and KFRS are looking at getting as many PTC involved as possible. Local Councils should contact their insurers to let them know that they are looking to be involved in the project.

Introduction

KFRS will continue to inspect fire hydrants throughout Kent & Medway on a rolling risk based programme and the inspections we are asking local PTC’s to undertake are in addition to the ongoing work KFRS undertake. Whether your Local PTC helps identify defects or not will have no impact on the service provided by the Authority.

The inspections can be undertaken by anyone within the Local Council or community.

The inspections are to be visual inspections only and no risks should be taken at any time.

All issues reported to KFRS will be rectified based on the severity of the defect.

We are simply asking that…. If you see a defect PLEASE REPORT IT!!!

Reporting process

Problems with a fire hydrant can be reported in several ways:

Direct to KFRS Water Services team:

 Email: water.services@kent.fireuk.org

 By phone:

01622 692 121 – Extension 2391

 In writing:

Water Services team, Kent Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, The Godlands, Straw Mill Hill, Tovil, Maidstone, ME15 6XB

 Kent County Council online reporting tool – Report online to Kent County Council

 Smartphone app – Country Eye

Out-of-hours reporting (including emergency issues)

If the problem appears to be dangerous or is noticed outside office hours, please report directly to your local water company:

 Affinity Water South East

0800 376 5325

 South East Water

0333 000 0365

 Southern Water

0330 303 0368

 Sutton and East Surrey Water 01737 772000.

 Thames Water

0800 714 614

Problems that can be reported by PTC include:

Missing, damaged or covered fire hydrant marker plates

Missing or damaged hydrant marker plates can usually be fixed by KFRS.

Hydrant marker plates are rectangular yellow signs, with a large black H and a pair of numbers, usually attached to a wall, lamp post or a short concrete post. The two numbers on the plate show the size of the water main and the approximate distance of the hydrant from the plate.

In some areas, thermal H markings are burnt into the roadway, as shown below. These are predominantly used in rural areas where marker plates are at higher risk of being covered over or damaged.

As well as marker plates, all hydrants are also shown on the digital maps available in fire engines, so that the nearest one can be found while firefighters are on their way to an incident. This also means that even if marker plates are missing or broken, the fire service will still be able to find them in most cases, and once reported they will be repaired in due course.

If the marker plate is covered by overgrown grass or plants, residents can help by cutting back any plants or bushes that are covering the hydrant indicator post.

Dangerous, missing or cracked hydrant covers and frames

When a fire hydrant cover is missing or cracked, it can expose the hydrant to the elements, which can cause it to freeze and silt up. This can stop it working when firefighters need it.

Leaks from fire hydrants

Most leaks are below ground and not visible, but even leaks on the surface are often not reported due to people assuming someone else will have already reported a problem. Leaks affect water flow and pressure from a fire hydrant, making it less effective if firefighters need to use it. Please report any leaks as soon as they are discovered.

Leaks from water supply pipes or mains

Leaks from water supply pipes or mains are the responsibility of the water company but can affect the availability of water from a fire hydrant. The sooner leaks are reported to the water company, the sooner they can fix the problem.

Illegal use of fire hydrants

Many problems with fire hydrants are caused by illegal use. It is illegal to use a fire hydrant to obtain water for purposes other than firefighting “unless authorised by the Water Authority or another person to whom the hydrant belongs” (source: Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, section 42, subsection 6).

The public can tell the local water companies or KFRS when they suspect illegal use. Key pieces of information such as the registration number and any company names on a vehicle, along with the date, time and location of the activity will be very helpful, but please avoid confrontation with suspected offenders.

Parking on or preventing access to a fire hydrant

It is an offence to be parked over or to prevent access to a fire hydrant when it is required for firefighting (source: Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004, section 42, subsection 7). If cars are seen to be continuously parking over fire hydrants this should be reported to the water services team at Kent Fire and Rescue Service.

Drivers should be considerate when parking near a fire hydrant marker post and the Local Council could ask friends, relatives and neighbours to be aware, as this could save time in an emergency.

Alternative emergency water supplies

As well as fire hydrants, Kent Fire and Rescue Service can use open water sources at incidents, including ponds and swimming pools. Please suggest these sources – if they are on private land owned or occupied by an individual or company – to the water services team, giving key information including the location and capacity if known.

KFRS is already aware of all public water sources such as rivers.

In the event of a fire, KFRS will use every available water source to tackle it. After the incident, any water that has been used will be replenished free of charge by the local water company, in liaison with the Fire Service.

New Development sites

To ensure we capture all development sites within Kent & Medway, PTC’s are encouraged to report any new developments within their area to the water services team so they can ensure all fire safety aspects of the new infrastructure are in place.

Parish and Town Council fire hydrant maps

Maps identifying the locations of the fire hydrants within your Parish or Town are available through KALC. Please note that due to data protection, these maps are not to be displayed on public domain websites.

Free home safety advice and services

KFRS offer free home ‘‘safe and well’ visits, to request a visit please:

 Call 0800 923 7000

 Email home@kent.fire-uk.org

KFRS would like to thank KALC, Local Councils and their communities for their support and assistance with this initiative.

Pictured below is a map of the Hollingbourne fire hydrants.