In my area, all of our hydrants are one color.... RED. Now dont get me wrong, I like the look of a classic red hydrant just as much as I like the look of a classic red fire engine but we have been asking the county to paint the tops of our hydrants according to their pressures for years now. I couldnt even tell you what the different colors mean because the only hydrants I've ever tapped were red.

Anyway... is there a national standard for what the colors mean according to pressure? and does your county, area, district, etc. actually go by this and paint the hydrants the right color?

Tags: color, hydrants, pressure

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The NFPA does not regulate. They provide guidelines or suggestions. Most departments tend to follow the guidelines set forth by NFPA because if there is every any litigation, it would tend to not be favorable to the department if the guidelines were not followed. Here is a good example....when you are driving on a road with a lot of curves, you see the yellow sign with a speed. This is the suggested speed. It is usually below the speed limit. As a driver, you only have to follow the speed on the white sign with black trim, but when driving on that portion of road, it is highly reccommended that you follow the suggested speed.
According to NFPA Standards the colors are as follows
Class C Less than 500gpm Red
Class B 500-999 gpm Orange
Class A 1000-1499 gpm Green
Class AA 1500 gpm and higher Light Blue
In all my career I have nver seen a hydrants marked with all four colors in one vicinity.
Come to Fredonia, NY... Black is the hydrant of last resort. If it doesn't work, the DPW puts a bag over it.
My county is yellow.
I know of a fire company that spent the money to have a fire hydrant chromed on their front ramp.
For a while stations in our county would paint the hydrant on their front ramps. Since most stations had their own colors for their apparatus they painted the hydrant the colors of the units. We painted ours black and white. Since they moved the hydrant to the corner and off our ramp we haven't touched it. Our sub station painted theirs red, white and blue. It was mostly white with red and blue strips.
I'm laughing good right now. This is kinda funny to me. I'll explain. Where I live now, we have no hydrants. But growing up,I lived in a half decent sized town and ....well....... ok, for example....across the street from the house we had a "Snoopy" hydrant,..the one after that was a robot hydrant and the one after that was a butler hydrant..then a tree...then an eagle...ya kinda get where I'm coming from. I often wondered if it was legal, but that's as far as I went with it. The closest thing that resembled anything to do with the fire service, was one was painted as a dalmation.
Maybe I shoulda started a new post with this one.
Take care all.
The colors do have a meaning and they are standards(refer to the Essentials). The barrel color isnt significant but the cap is. Red=0 to 499 gpm. Yellow or orange=500 to 999. Green=1000 to 1499. And blue=1500 and above. Black may mean totally dead or a private system. In our area, the barrels are silver and if theyre red, it means its new and hasnt been flow tested or its private. Some areas have added the same color reflective tape to help find them at night. The water dept. is responsible for all maintenance except flow testing and painting. We carry the pitot, paint, and a grease gun when we flow test and notify the water dept of any other needs. Hope this helps.
Top Colors
NFPA 291
BLUE 1500 GPM or more Very good flows
GREEN 1000-1499 GPM Good for residential areas
ORANGE 500-999 GPM Marginally adequate
RED Below 500 GPM Inadequate
Thanks for all the info guys!!!
OURS ARE RED- AND THEY ARE RATED AND WE DO ALL THE MAINTENCE ON OURS---DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THE COLD TOO MUCH HERE IN N.C......THE ONLY THING WE DRAIN DURING THE WINTER IS OUR PUMPS ON OUR TRUCKS..THEY HAVE A TENDENCY TO FREEZE UP GOING DOWN THE ROAD
We have a completely different color coding here in Green bay from the NFPA standards.

A RED hydrant...is on a 6 inch main and typically used in residential
An ORANGE hydrant...8 inch main
A GREEN hydrant ...is on a 10 inch or greater main
A YELLOW hydrant...indicates a dead end hydrant

Also the threads on the hydrants are Green Bay threads, not the national standard, so now that we started MABAS here, we can't connect to a steamer connection in the surrounding areas and other depts can't connect to ours.

Other thing is I know Madison, WI has BLACK hydrants around the Capitol building.
It does vary.



What color do you paint a 140 y/o hydrant?

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