Starting this week, public works crews will begin covering fire hydrants throughout the city with red plastic bags. Approximately 200 hydrants along county roads, plus a few high-traffic city roads, will get covers. The plastic bags protect the hydrants during winter months from salt and de-icing chemicals used on the roadways, which can have a corrosive effect.
Public works first began bagging hydrants last year. The covers cost less than a dollar per hydrant and can increase a fire hydrant's longevity. Fire Chief John Piper says firefighters can quickly and easily tear through the bags if a hydrant is needed.
"The biggest issue we have with corrosion is the ability to get the cap off or be able to turn it on," said Chief Piper. "By keeping the salt off of them, it will ensure that we do not have a corrosive issue when we need to use them."
Not all hydrants will receive covers. Public works is concentrating the effort on hydrants along roads that are frequently treated with de-icing agents.