Before piped mains supplies, water for firefighting had to be kept in buckets and cauldrons ready for use by ‘bucket-brigades’ or brought with a horse-drawn fire-pump. From the 16th century, as wooden mains water systems were installed, firefighters would dig down the pipes and drill a hole for water to fill a “wet well” for the buckets or pumps. This had to be filled and plugged afterwards, hence the common US term for a hydrant, ‘fireplug’. A marker would be left to indicate where a ‘plug’ had already been drilled to enable firefighters to find ready-drilled holes. Later wooden systems had pre-drilled holes and plugs. When cast-iron pipes replaced the wood, permanent underground access points were included for the fire fighters. Some countries provide access covers to these points, while others attach fixed above-ground hydrants – the first cast iron ones were patented in 1801 by Frederick Graff, then chief-engineer of the Philadelphia Water Works. Invention since then has targeted problems such as tampering, freezing, connection, reliability etc.

Fire hydrant coloring pages, Just click on the image you wish to design.