FIRE PROTECTION

Public Fire Protection


Many water utilities in Maine were originally developed to provide fire protection.

  • Drinking water was a secondary consideration.
  • When a water utility is chartered to provide fire protection, the utility’s water main pipe size is often 2-3 times larger than if it provided drinking water alone.

Common water utility infrastructure includes:

  • Water Source (well, pond, river)
  • Water Treatment Facilities (filtration, chlorination, pumping, etc.)
  • Pumping Stations
  • Water Mains
  • Storage Tanks (provide pressure and large amounts of water)
  • Fire Hydrants
  • Water Services
  • Water Meters
  • Interconnections With Neighboring Utilities




Why should the municipalities pay for fire protection charges?


  • Fire protection service is largely a stand-by service, the costs of which are principally the costs of providing capacity and holding it in readiness to furnish water at any time a fire breaks out.
  • Most of the important municipal services are in town centers, as are most water utilities service areas.
  • Fire protection provided by the District is used to help safeguard public buildings that all taxpayers use.
  • The distribution system cost allocated to fire protection is the difference between existing cost and the hypothetical cost of the system without providing fire protection.
  • There is sometimes a decrease in insurance rates when fire protection is available.
  • York is considered a Protection Class 4.
    • This rating provides a 4% reduction for fire insurance for commercial properties.
  • Largely in part to the last ISO (Insurance Services Office) report, credit is based on the strength of our Public Water Supply and fire hydrants. Also, the strength of both fire departments.




ISO allocates credit by evaluating the following 3 major features:


  • Fire Alarm and Communication System - This review accounts for 10% of the total classification which centers upon a community’s facilities and support for handling and dispatching fire alarms.
  • Fire Department - This review accounts for 50% of the total classification which focuses upon items such as engine companies, ladder or service companies, distribution on fire stations and fire companies, equipment carried on apparatus, pumping capacity, reserve apparatus, department manning, and training.
  • Water Supply System - This review accounts for 40% of the total classification highlighting the water supply a community uses fire suppression, including hydrant size, type, and installation, as well as the inspection frequency and condition of fire hydrants.




York Water District


The York Water District has 377 public & 68 private fire hydrants in its distribution system.

In addition, the Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, & Wells Water District provides fire protection in a small section of the northern part of York.

The Kittery Water District provides fire protection in the southwestern part of York off Rte. 91, Scotland Bridge and the Beech Ridge Road areas.




Fire Departments please note:


All the York Water District and Kittery Water District hydrants are “Open Left."

All of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport & Wells Water District hydrants are "Open Right."

Whenever a hydrant is being operated it must be opened and closed very very slowly. If a hydrant is operated incorrectly, it could cause a Water Hammer. This is a pressure surge or wave resulting when a fluid in motion is forced to stop or change direction suddenly (momentum change). A Water Hammer commonly occurs when a valve is opened or closed suddenly in a pipe system, and a pressure wave propagates in the pipe. This pressure wave can cause major problems, from noise and vibration to pipe collapse. It is possible to reduce the effects of the water hammer by operating fire hydrants slowly.

It is recommended to open a fire hydrant at a rate of one turn every four seconds.






Hydrant Usage Rule of Thumb


Contact YWD anytime the fire department is dispatched to a fire scene or when a hydrant has been utilized for training purposes. Our trained staff can be reached 24/7 by calling 207-363-2265 and leaving a message. Someone will arrive within 30 minutes.

The District will lend assistance where appropriate.

When closing a fire hydrant, close it very slowly!

Do not use excessive force, or “reef” a hydrant shut. Close it only tight enough to stop to flow to remove your equipment. A YWD crew member will always inspect the hydrant to confirm it has been shut off without any dripping.

District will also pump all hydrants after use. Year Round!

In addition to notifying the District by phone at the time of any hydrant usage, the Fire Department staff is also responsible for completing a hydrant usage report (noting estimated water usage for each hydrant used) for each event and submitting it electronically to the District’s Foremen (Webster Ropke, Larry Graham and Tom Chase) within 7 days.

Fire Departments shall also submit a year-end summary of fire hydrant usage to the District’s Foremen, detailing the number of hydrants used for training/fire suppression and total calculations for water used throughout the year.




Dead End Water Mains


The limitation with "dead end" mains is that they are only supplied with water from one end. In such instances, fire companies pumping "upstream" from other companies can impact water supply to their "downstream" counterparts. Your engine companies should be made aware of the situation and coordinate appropriately to ensure the available water is adequately shared.

Dead end mains don't just exist on dead end streets. Many roads which extend into different sections of town will have slightly different pressure and volume due to elevation changes.




Hydrant Operating Nut Colors


What do different colors mean?

Red Nut: 0 - 500 GPM*
Orange Nut: 500 - 999 GPM
Green Nut: 1000 – 1499 GPM

Blue Nut: 1500+ GPM


*GPM=Gallons Per Minute




Typical Hydrant Installation


Click here to see a typical fire hydrant installation.