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How Does a Fire Hydrant Work?

You probably see them all the time. So much so that you may not even notice them because they are just a part of the landscape that you take for granted. But when your home catches on fire, you will be grateful for the humble fire hydrant that sits on the corner.

Fire hydrants provide easy access to water supplies to help fight fires in communities. Most people don’t give them a second thought or even understand how these important fixtures work.

Basic Design

A fire hydrant has above-ground and below-ground parts. Above ground, you have the hydrant, which has parts that allow for connecting to it and controlling the water flow. To open valves on a hydrant to allow the water to flow, you need to use a special valve turner. The hydrant also has connectors for fire hoses to hook into for fighting fires.

Under the ground, is a pipe that hooks into the local water supply. It also has controls to ensure the hydrant doesn’t constantly leak water or allow any type of contamination to enter the water supply.


Fire squads will usually bring water trucks on the scene to fight a fire. While these trucks can hold a large amount of water, it is often not near enough to put out a house fire, according to Wonderopolis. The water truck mainly serves the purpose of allowing the firefighters to start working on the fire as soon as they get on site until they can hook into a fire hydrant.

The fire hydrant is what provides enough water to fully extinguish the fire. It pumps the water into the fire truck. It gets pressurized in the truck so that it can spray on the fire and put out the flames.  

The Humble Hydrant

Fire hydrants are rather simple contraptions, but they serve an important purpose. Without them, it would be quite difficult for firefighters to successfully do their job.

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