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Hydrant Status at a Glance

Out of Service vs. In Service

A red out of service ring identifies a particular hydrant as not being available for firefighting. Out-of-service rings are placed on hydrants by both DC Water and FEMS. This information is an important extra precaution for firefighters who frequently make quick decisions to protect property and lives. The water distribution system is redundant so the firefighters have many other hydrants in the area available to them during an emergency and they can quickly eliminate those with Out of Service rings.

Why Operational Hydrants May Have a Red Ring

  • Obsolete hydrants — If DC Water cannot repair or retrofit the hydrant, then it is scheduled for replacement. A hydrant is typically replaced within three weeks.
  • Damaged hydrants — Fire hydrants can be damaged when struck by a vehicle, from environmental elements or from improper opening for authorized and unauthorized use.
  • Inaccessible hydrants — Hydrants that cannot be accessed by firefighters are typically found at construction sites and roadway repairs where there is fencing or barriers that prevent the firefighter from hooking up to the hydrant.
  • Water main repairs — DC Water shuts off mains to make repairs which can restrict water flow to the hydrants. DC Water crews place out-of-service rings on these hydrants until water is restored.
  • New Construction - Hydrants that may be installed as a new construction but are not yet operational will have an out-of-service ring.

Reflective Bands

Colored reflective bands indicate two things to the fire department:

  • The nozzle has been upgraded to the national standard for 4.5 inch nozzles.
  • The colors indicate expected fire flow for FEMS. White indicates that the nozzle is upgraded but the hydrant has not been flow tested yet.