Private Hydrants Require Maintenance Too.
By Deputy Chief Rick Schartel
March 23, 2024

TSFR would like to remind the public that not all fire hydrants are created equally. While they may look the same and operate the same, they are not all public utility hydrants. In other words, someone other than a public agency owns them and as such is required to maintain, repair and test them. This is to ensure that they are available to the fire department in times of emergency. We have learned that not everyone who owns the hydrants is completely aware of these responsibilities.

Privately owned hydrants are typically found in large campus-like locations such as schools, shopping centers and office parks. They are also found in residential settings such as gated communities, apartments complexes and townhouse developments. The hydrants are generally connected to a public water source but may also include underground cisterns.

Hydrants are subject to the Township’s Fire Code which adopts a national consensus standard known as the International Fire Code. This code in turn mandates that National Fire Protection Association Standard 25—Inspection Testing and Maintenance of Water Based Fire Protection Systems be followed. In a nutshell this requires annual physical inspection of conditions and verification of operability. This includes ensuring that the hydrants are accessible, operate smoothly to allow water to flow, and that they automatically drain to prevent freeze-up.

Property owners and occupants are encouraged to check with their respective resident association, landlord or facility management firm to determine ownership of the hydrants protecting their property and compliance with the code. Any additional questions can be referred to the Township Fire Marshal's office.