Fire hydrants are designed to provide water for fire suppression purposes. Fire hydrants in our City are owned and maintained by the Pinellas County Utility Department. Fire hydrants are strategically placed to provide the best water protection available and having a good water system allows the City to have a better ISO rating. ISO inspectors also review the accessibility, condition and maintenance of fire hydrants. The better the ISO rating we receive, the better insurance rates that are available to homeowners.
The Florida Fire Prevention Code/NFPA 1 is adopted triennially by the State Fire Marshal per Florida Statue. Within the code(s) are certain prescriptive requirements that are to be enforced by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). Chapter 18.1 provides requirements for fire department access and water supply, specifically section 126.96.36.199 requires, "Fire hydrants and connections or other approved water supplies shall be accessible to the fire department".
Fire Hydrants are only effective if we can find them and fully operate them. There should be no obstructions in front of the hydrant to the street and no obstructions 4 feet behind and (7.5 ft.) on each side and (7.5 ft.) in front. Because of the large equipment and hoses we must connect to the hydrant, (7.5 ft.) is the minimum distance all around that we need to operate the hydrant safely. No obstructions such as shrubs or fences should be in front of the hydrant. Obstructions such as these make it difficult to find a hydrant quickly.
These clearances prevent delays in finding and using fire hydrants and fire protection equipment.