Fire officials and Bay City, Michigan’s water distribution department are looking at a plan to color-code the community’s 1,441 fire hydrants to identify the quality of water outflow in each.
Beginning next year, large steamer caps on the front of the hydrants could be painted blue for “very good,” green for “good,” orange for “marginally adequate” and red for “inadequate,” The Bay City Times reported Saturday.
Inadequate hydrants release less than 500 gallons of water per minute, interim Fire Chief Karey Prieur told the newspaper.
“That wouldn’t help us out a bit,” he said. “We wouldn’t be able to fight a fire with 500 gallons of water per minute.”
An ideal outflow is 1,500 gallons or more per minute.
Officials were not sure how many hydrants in the city, about 90 miles northwest of Detroit, would be classified as inadequate. Most are located on dead end streets where water comes from one direction instead of two, water distribution supervisor Mark Vanderberg said.
“It’s not very many,” he said. “They’re in isolated areas throughout the city.”
Vanderberg said the city is correcting low-flow areas.
When firefighters respond to a blaze where the closest hydrant does not produce enough water flow, they find the nearest hydrant that does, Prieur said.
“If all else fails, we’d have to shuttle water, but we’ve never had to do that,” he said.
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