Making Sure Fire Hydrants Work In An Emergency

Omaha firefighters are able to hook up to a hydrant in fifteen to twenty seconds. WOWT 6 News dug deeper to find out what procedures are in place to make sure hydrants work when they're needed.

There are about 28-thousand fire hydrants in Omaha and other areas in the metro. The massive job of maintaining them falls on MUD.

"If something's wrong with the hydrant, then we go repair them," said MUD worker Alex Perea in an interview with WOWT 6 News.

Perea is on one of several MUD crews that cover the city making sure hydrants are in working order.

"We try to touch them every three to five years," said MUD Superintendent Gene Siadek.

"We're always busy," said MUD crew chief Andy Mahoney. "If we ever do get caught up, which we probably never will, we have a hydrant shop where we rebuild stems."

When a hydrant is in disrepair, it's reported on a daily list that is issued to the Omaha Fire Department. That information is then shared with each fire precinct at the start of each shift.

"And the list is updated daily," said OFD Assistant Fire Marshal Daryl Giles. "MUD does a great job of letting us know.".

WOWT 6 News did uncover an issue with a hydrant in Bellevue.

When Bellevue firefighters responded to a fire on November 3, 2013 near 36th and Franklin, one of the hydrants they tried to use was broken.

Digging deeper, WOWT 6 News found that same hydrant had still not been repaired almost two weeks later.

After our phone calls, the Bellevue Fire Department and MUD determined that a report on the broken hydrant had fallen through the cracks.

Bellevue Fire Chief Perry Guido explained, "Since we moved away from a volunteer fire department, we are still working on standard operational procedures. As a result of your inquiry and our meeting on Wednesday with MUD, we now have a proper notification system in place."

MUD Superintendent Gene Siadek told WOWT 6 News, "That hydrant is on private land and we have now notified the owner that it must be repaired within the next two weeks."

WOWT 6 News will continue to track repairs on that broken hydrant and report on it's status.

And one other aspect concerning maintenance of fire hydrants in the metro area. MUD estimates that about 13-thousand hydrants in the metro are newer models.

If one of those newer hydrants is knocked loose by traffic, the water will be contained rather than flood the area.

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