Just imagine. Imagine if there was to be a sudden outbreak of fire on the sixth floor of an apartment block downtown. Luckily enough, it would usually be only minutes before the local fire department’s red trucks came screaming down the road, calling a halt in front of the distressed apartment block. The men and women in their helmets would have arrived just in time to help the alarmed tenants with their immediate evacuation procedures.
Some things have to be sacrificed in this emergency situation, so there will be much banging down of doors, even walls. That’s to make it easier for people to escape the growing, billowing flames. It’s also to make it easier for the smoke to escape. Apart from causing asphyxiation, the stifling of the hot smoke could lead to another fire outbreak. Opening up gaps also makes it easier for the firemen to pull in the fire hydrant hose.
And down there on the curbside, someone is standing by to turn the fire hydrant’s hose on. Not quite full blast but just enough to make an impact. But then something happens. Or rather, nothing happens at all. That’s why it’s just so important for the city authorities and local communities to make sure that the hydrant flow test is on the checklist of regular risk management and fire prevention tasks.
Fortunately, this unfortunate lapse is going to be a rare occurrence. The local fire department would usually send one of its inspectors around the neighborhood at scheduled times to check that all fire hydrants are fit for purpose. And when they need to be repaired or replaced they’re using the input provided by the very people that went and built these fire hydrants in the first place, if not that, the testing devices at least.