Dry hydrants are unpressurized pipes connected to ponds or lakes in rural areas. These are designed to provide firefighters ready access to water supplies when fighting fires away from pressurized water mains. They are called "dry" because the water must be pumped through the pipe.
In urban areas, firefighters have access to traditional fire hydrants, which are connected to pressurized water mains. In rural areas away from pressurized mains, many homeowners rely on well water or more limited water supplies for their homes, making it difficult to draw the volumes of water needed for firefighting operations. Strategically placed dry hydrants in rural counties reduce the distance firefighters must travel to draw water supplies, offering multiple options for replenishing tank trucks.
A dry hydrant consists of an accessible valve at ground level, which is connected to a pipe that descends into the bottom of a nearby reservoir. The pipe ends in a permanent screen, preventing fish, rocks, or debris from being sucked into the pipe when water is drawn. There are no moving parts or electrical components to a dry hydrant, and the system relies on the tank truck's intake pump to provide the suction necessary to draw water. This means that a dry hydrant remains functional even during power outages or natural disasters that might disrupt normal water service.