Fire Hydrants: A Vital City Asset

“Fire hydrants exist to protect life and property from the perils of fire. Certainly, they have other uses, but their role in protecting us day in and day out is acknowledged to be their primary purpose. So, why is it that the proper repair and maintenance of something this important to every one of us can be so easily overlooked?” This question was raised in the article, White Paper: The Case for Inspecting Fire Hydrants (published by Mueller Co. in January 2010). The article thoroughly explains the importance of preventive maintenance on hydrants and what measures should be taken to maintain them. Although the City of Auburn Hills Department of Public Works maintains a vast variety of public assets, I’ve limited this blog’s scope to only cover fire hydrants to save us both some time.

  • If you had to guess, how many hydrants do you think are maintained by the City of Auburn Hills DPW?

In Auburn Hills we do an annual inspection and winterization of every hydrant that is owned by the city. Once the inspections are completed, we go through and make any repairs that are needed. We also complete a briefer inspection each summer. Every summer, an area of the city is identified so that all hydrants within that area can be repainted. Each area usually consists of about 200-300 hydrants. During the painting process, the reflective tape is replaced, a visual inspection is completed, and repairs are made, if needed. As outlined by the above-mentioned white paper, this is just one very important task that is regularly completed by the DPW. Although often overlooked by the general public, fire hydrants serve a very important role in our communities. We all hope that there aren’t fires in our city that require the use of hydrants. However, if/when there are, you should find comfort knowing that the DPW is performing regular maintenance on these assets to ensure they are in working order. Oh, by the way the answer is 2,569 hydrants.

Robert Cox, Department of Public Works

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