Fire hydrants

Learn about fire hydrants in Suffolk, including what they are, how they're maintained and how you can report a damaged hydrant.

You can report a damaged fire hydrant quickly and easily online. 

What is a fire hydrant?

Fire hydrants are used to supplement the water supply for fire fighting, by supplying or refilling the tank in a fire fighting appliance.

It is our responsibility to ensure that all fire hydrants in Suffolk are maintained and are available for use in the event of a fire.

You may be familiar with above ground yellow marker posts, used to identify the location and size of the water main.

Fire hydrant labelled with number pipe diameter distance and barcode

The hydrant is located below ground and is connected to the water main.

Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has a duty to ensure that all reasonable measures are taken to make sure that there is an adequate supply of water available in the event of a fire, in line with the Fire Service Act 2004.

The fire hydrant man hole cover is identified by the letters FH.

Therefore it is very important that fire hydrants are kept in good working order.

Fire hydrant maintenance

Currently the SFRS have two fire hydrant inspectors who endeavour to inspect the fire hydrants in Suffolk with in a time frame of 36 to 48 months. This includes:

  • Above ground inspection - The hydrant frame, cover and surrounding surface is checked for damage. The information on the hydrant marker post is checked to ensure that it is correct and clearly visible. Any other growth is cut back and re-painting is carried out on the post, lid or kerb if necessary.
  • Below ground inspection - This involves checking the hydrant pit and hydrant itself. It is inspected for leakage and may require cleaning if silt or debris is in the way of delivering water. We do not flow or pressure test the fire hydrants. Any specific requests to flow or pressure test a fire hydrant must be put in writing to the Water Authority for the area. We do, on occasions, flush the fire hydrant to ensure that it opens and closes with ease for the crews to use.

Although we do not flow or pressure test the fire hydrants in line with the National Guidance document 2007 (NGD), we do, on occasions, flush the fire hydrant to ensure that it opens and closes with ease for the crews to use. Any specific requests to flow or pressure test a fire hydrant must be put in writing to the Water Authority for the area.

Reporting a damaged fire hydrant

The Fire Hydrant Inspectors will inspect and, where possible, repair any reportedly damaged or leaky fire hydrants as soon as possible. If the repair needs additional work then the work will be moved to a water authority to undertake.

Report it online

We'll inspect and repair any reportedly damaged or leaky fire hydrants as soon as possible. 

If you spot a problem with a fire hydrant please report it to us using our online form.

You can also report a damaged fire hydrant by emailing water.hydrants@suffolk.gov.uk or phoning 01473 260588 with details of the:

  • Hydrant number – found on the plate
  • Location of the hydrant – what parish is it in? What is the road name?
  • What is the problem or damage to the hydrant?

All our fire hydrants are logged on a data base which feeds the mobile data terminals on our fire vehicles. This allows our crews to locate our fire hydrants whilst approaching incident. It also enables us to locate a fire hydrant when damage is reported to us.

Know the law 

It is illegal to use a fire hydrant to obtain water for purposes other than fire fighting (unless authorised by the Water Authority or the person to whom the hydrant belongs).

Unauthorised access to the hydrant pit is not allowed. People found to be using fire hydrants without the appropriate authorisation will be liable to prosecution.

You may also be liable to prosecution if you cause damage to or obstruct a fire hydrant.

Think before you park

In the event of a fire it is important that fire fighters have quick and easy access to water supplies.

Obstruction of fire hydrants through inconsiderate parking could place the lives of you, your family and your neighbours at risk.

Relocating fire hydrant markers

Fire hydrants may need to be relocated. If you wish to relocate a hydrant marker please contact SFRS by email water.hydrants@suffolk.gov.uk or phone 01473 260588.

Private fire hydrants

Private fire hydrants located on private water mains are not the responsibility of the local water company or Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service. They should be installed in accordance with the appropriate British Standards and be compatible with SFRS equipment.

These are generally located on large sites such as:

  • hospitals
  • military establishments
  • industrial estates

They may also be installed to provide cover for specific risk properties.

Private hydrants are the responsibility of the owners or occupiers of whose land they are installed.