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Having access to an adequate amount of water could spell the difference between the total destruction of a building and life or death. For this reason, it’s crucial fire hydrants be tested for flow every five years and inspected annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). When inspection season approaches, city professionals and licensed contractors must ensure their teams are equipped with the proper fire hydrant identification tags. Here’s what you need to know about the warnings written on hydrant rings, their colors, diameters, and materials. 

What Do Hydrant Rings Say?

Hydrant rings communicate important information to firefighters, including the functionality and ownership of these fixtures. They are typically affixed to the larger valve on the hydrant and held in place by the valve cap. Officials can order printed rings that state “Out of Service” or “For Fire Department Use Only.” They can even order blank rings to customize the message.

Out of Service

Status rings that say “Out of Service” mark public fire hydrants that require maintenance or are altogether out of commission. Firefighters receive routine updates on the condition of hydrants in their area, but in the heat of an emergency, it’s easy to forget this information. That’s why properly affixed “Out of Service” hydrant rings are so crucial.

This type of fire hydrant ring is often used to mark:

  • Obsolete hydrants that are out of date and cannot be retrofitted to the national standard
  • Damaged hydrants that need repair or replacement because they’ve been struck by a vehicle or improperly opened by an unauthorized user, or they are missing parts or leaking
  • Inaccessible hydrants that are obstructed by fencing or other barriers that make it hard for the firefighters to reach
  • Hydrants attached to water mains that are being repaired because water flow has been diminished

Hydrant rings can also identify hydrants with insufficient water flow and a potential for backflow into the water distribution system. In instances where flow capacity varies, hydrants should be affixed with rings like LEM’s that conform to NFPA color codes.

For Fire Department Use Only

Sadly, theft and misuse of water are on the rise all across the world. In order to protect the water supply and ensure firefighters have access to sufficient water to save lives and buildings, fire hydrants need to have identifying markers. “For Fire Department Use Only” hydrant rings identify ownership, dissuade misuse, and allow government officials to seek fines against those who steal water from the hydrant.

In addition to marking public fire hydrants, hydrant markers can be used to identify private hydrants. Water companies, utility and power plants, universities, and hospitals frequently use customized hydrant rings to stake their ownership over water hydrants.

What Do the Different Colors of Hydrant Rings Represent?

It is quite common for a hydrant’s water flow capacity to fluctuate as conditions change. Fire protection officials keep a close eye on these changes during preventative maintenance, which typically occurs in spring, summer, or fall. If the pressure inside the hydrant changes, the hydrant will be outfitted with a new flow ring to keep the hydrant’s condition updated.

These flow rings are color-coded based on the NFPA’s guidelines. The NFPA recommends the following colors for different flow capacities:

  • Blue (Class AA): Used for hydrants with a rated capacity of 1,500 GPM or greater
  • Green (Class A): Used for hydrants with a rated capacity of 1,000 to 1,499 GPM
  • Orange (Class B): Used for hydrants with a rated capacity of 500 to 999 GPM
  • Red (Class C): Used for hydrants with a rated capacity of less than 500 GPM

What Are the Different Hydrant Ring Diameters?

Hydrant rings can be placed around the larger steamer or the smaller hose nozzle, depending on the hydrant type. Of course, a ring with a greater diameter will be needed for a steamer nozzle than a hose nozzle. For this reason, fire hydrant markers vary in size.

City officials and licensed contractors can buy hydrant rings with an outside diameter of 10.5 in. and an inner diameter of 7 in., 5.75 in., or 4.75 in. Alternatively, they can get markers with an outside diameter of 7 in. and an inner diameter of 3.1 in. No matter which size ring is chosen, officials and contractors can be confident that the hydrant ring will not be able to be removed once the valve cap is replaced.

What Material Are Hydrant Rings Made From?

Fire hydrant rings are made from heavy-duty plastic to ensure they cannot be tampered with or damaged by changing weather conditions. The rings made by LEM Products, Inc. are so rigid that they cannot be torn by hand, making them effectively tamper-proof. Additionally, the color is throughout the entire marker (not just the surface) so that it cannot be scratched or worn away. Most importantly, our hydrant rings can be customized to be reflective to ensure high visibility at night, during storms, or during power outages.

Effectively Mark Your Hydrants Today

Do you need to replenish your stock of fire hydrant tags? Turn to LEM Products, Inc. for all your supply needs. Our hydrant rings are UV, weather, and tamper resistant, follow NFPA color codes, and can be printed with customized text, company logos, and phone numbers. Order new fire hydrant rings today. We can even help you with your other utility marking needs, including providing water line marking flags.