Fire Hydrant abuse is illegal and dangerous

Despite the warning from water company United Utilities asking us to save water as much as possible, vandals are adding to the water consumption issue by tampering with fire hydrants.

On nearly every street there’s a fire hydrant – a kind of special tap to allow emergency access to water supplies.

As the North West continues to swelter in the heat wave, the water company is seeing an increase in hydrants being damaged.

Martin Padley, the company’s director of water and scientific services said:

“Fire hydrant abuse is wrongly seen by many as a bit of harmless fun, but it’s dangerous, costly and wasteful of a precious resource which we are carefully trying to manage during this long spell of dry weather.

“Those responsible for vandalism of hydrants are not only putting themselves at risk of injury from highly pressurised water, they are impacting our ability to keep flows and pressure to homes, businesses, local hospitals and vulnerable customers.

“In a worst case scenario this abuse could impact on the fire service’s ability to tackle a blaze in the community. Something very relevant at the moment with firefighters tackling moorland fires, some of which threatened to engulf properties.

“Ultimately, it’s selfish behaviour.”

Despite the massive amount of water wasted by a damaged hydrant, which ultimately affects water supplies for local residents, engineers are having trouble turning the hydrants off for safety reasons.

“We’ve had stones thrown at our people, we’ve had threats of violence and abuse hurled at us. It’s got to the point we have to wait for police support or return late into the night when the crowds have gone before we can close the hydrant down”, added Martin.

Work is continually taking place to make hydrant covers more secure but communities can play their part too by treating hydrant abuse as antisocial behaviour rather than a bit of harmless fun.