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Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS)

Protecting Public Water Systems Conclusion

Reference Number: MTAS-1902
Reviewed Date: 10/28/2020

We all drink from fire hydrants and share a common goal to protect the water system. When using fire hydrants, fire departments have a responsibility for keeping our drinking water as safe as possible. A coordinated effort between the fire department and water utility is essential in protecting public health. Communities should identify and mark fire hydrants in all areas,and especially in areas with deficient fire flows. Once these deficient areas are identified, every stakeholder should be involved in creating, funding, and implementing a plan of corrective action to provide adequate fire flows to protect life and property. For efficient firefighting operations, communities should mark all fire hydrants in the community according to NFPA Standard 291. Good planning is needed to ensure that the community has adequate fire flows for fire suppression operations. The water supply represent 40% of the community's Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating, and cooperation is essential to meet everyone’s interests, to provide the adequate fire flows needed to protect life and property, and to keep the community's drinking water supply safe.