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AP News – A Growing Trend: Hydrant Locks to Reduce Illegal Summer Showers

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ The spray of an open fire hydrant – for generations, an escape from urban summer swelter – is going the way of such lost childhood pleasures as marbles and mumbletypeg.

Newark is among a small group of cities that have turned to The Custodian, a magnetic locking device, to crack down on the illegal diversion of city water from hydrants.

Hydrants have long offered children the easiest, cheapest way to cool down on a summer’s day. But the practice has a dangerous downside – it diverts water that may be needed to fight fires.

Some children say they know about the dangers in opening hydrants, but they need some relief from the sweltering conditions of the city.

″They should and they shouldn’t do it,″ said Latasha Harris, 14, who used to play under open hydrants. ″In a way, it’s dangerous, because people could be hurt in a fire if there’s no water.

″But it’s hot. I mean, some people can’t afford to go places to go swimming. They should at least let people use the sprinklers. That doesn’t waste as much water.″

Officials in Newark, Paterson and Passaic in New Jersey, and in Boston, Chicago and Kansas City, Mo., say the magnetic lock that slips over the top of a fire hydrant has sharply reduced the amount of water loss. The lock comes equipped with a key wrench, which is needed to open the hydrant. They are also used in Washington, D.C., and New Haven, Conn.

″This is the first thing we’ve found so far that has worked,″ said Bob Kerns, director of the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.

Installing 1,500 caps on the most popular of the city’s 5,200 hydrants saved Newark enough money on salaries, repairs and water to pay for the devices, said Andrew Pappachen, a supervising engineer in the Water Department.

Hydra-Shield Manufacturing Inc. of Irving, Texas, sells The Custodian and its special wrench for about $500, said salesman Ron Green. Sales primarily have been in northeastern cities, he said.

The average number of open hydrant reports on a typical summer weekend dropped from 200 two years ago to 10 this summer, said Newark Fire Department spokesman Larry Krieger.

Vandals have used blow torches, chain saws, drills and sledgehammers to damage the locking device, officials said, but only on a few occasions have they succeeded in getting water from the hydrants.

The Custodian is an improvement over earlier hydrant security devices, said Wendell Inhoffer, general superintendent of the Passaic Valley Water Commission, which installed 400 caps in Paterson and Passaic.

″Some early devices needed scissor wrenches to open, so we made sure all the fire departments had them. The kids found a way to open them with coat hangers,″ Inhoffer said.

Illegal taps were virtually eliminated in Boston after the caps were installed on all hydrants in public housing projects, said Fred Famolare, an aide to the Fire Department’s deputy chief.

″But nothing’s foolproof. We’ve noticed lately that some people are putting a large magnet on top of the hydrant and then using a plumber’s wrench,″ Famolare said.

Boston firefighters also have discovered a new problem: out-of-town fire companies helping Boston units have found they cannot open the hydrants. Famolare said wrenches are being supplied.

Open hydrants can spew more than 1,000 gallons of water a minute and reduce water pressure in a system, a potentially dangerous problem when there is a fire.

In Newark, Krieger said community groups are no longer allowed to open hydrants with sprinkler caps. ″The drain on the water system was tremendous,″ he said.


(REF: Author: Copyright By: July 20, 1990)

(Link to article: https://www.apnews.com/87028cd5e6e355254bf1b685df40d32b)

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Chicago Tribune Article and The Custodian Lock

City’s hydrants getting new lock

Gary Washburn, Tribune staff reporter CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Vandals bent on opening fire hydrants will have an increasingly tougher time as the city steps up installation of a new generation of locking devices, according to Chicago Water Management Department officials.

Under a $3.65 million contract awarded recently to a Texas firm, as many as 10,000 so-called Custodian nut-locking systems will go on hydrants during the next five years, joining 12,000 already in service.

Placement of the devices will be determined by analyzing 311 calls of unauthorized hydrant openings, officials said.

The new model represents the eighth generation of locking devices as designers seek to stay a step ahead of people who try to misuse hydrants, said Tom LaPorte, a Water Management Department spokesman.

“You never are going to have a completely tamperproof lock, but this has been very effective in discouraging open hydrants,” he said. “In the old days, you might have seen 3,000 or 4,000 being opened on a given day during a bad heat wave. Now we are down into the low hundreds.”

The new devices have saved labor hours, LaPorte said. In the past, the city “might have spent a couple of hundred thousand dollars” a year in overtime for crews dispatched to turn off open hydrants. In the last two years “we haven’t spent a dime,” he said.

Chicago has more than 45,000 hydrants. Those not equipped with the Custodian models have less sophisticated locking systems.

Firefighters and Water Management crews will have keys to unlock the new bullet-shaped caps, manufactured by Hydra-Shield Manufacturing Inc. of Irving, Texas.Open hydrants can result in a variety of problems, including reduced water pressure, officials said.

Perhaps the biggest concern is children playing in the streets under sprays of water that obscure the vision of drivers, who tend to speed up when they go through, LaPorte said.

Basements of neighboring buildings also can be flooded. And if a water main is old and brittle, it can rupture if a hydrant is opened too quickly, LaPorte said.


(link to the story: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2004-11-26-0411260108-story.html)

(ref:Gary Washburn, Tribune staff reporter CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

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Hydra Shield’s 40th Year Anniversary

40th Anniversary

We would like to thank all our distributors, vendors, and customers for supporting our company and products for 40 years. Hydra Shield has been doing business in the water and fire industry since 1979. Over the years, we have secured many fire hydrants all across the country, helping deter water theft and vandalism, saving cities money and valuable resources. Our “Custodian” hydrant lock has been at the forefront of the security business, helping cities control their hydrant distribution system.

We have also been involved in securing residential water meters with our awesome Plug locks and even helping to secure in-ground valves with our V-Lock device.

We look forward to many more successful years serving your security needs now and in the future.

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Hydra Shield Launches Fyrelane USA Brand 2018 Catalog.

Fyrelane USA releases its 2018 catalog early. Fyrelane continues to grow it’s brand in a competitive market and brings innovative products to its product line. Stay tuned and check back on www.FyrelaneUSA.com or www.HydraShieldinc.com for updates and new product developments.

Please see the new 2018 catalog here: 2018FyrelaneProductCatalogonline1

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Launching a long-serving, trusted company into the future.

After more than 38 years, Hydra-Shield, a long-time leader in the hydrant security industry, has introduced its new branding.

Since 1979, Hydra-Shield has manufactured and distributed the highest quality hydrant locks, devices, accessories and valves to communities across the nation. Many municipal water departments choose Hydra-Shield as a main source of security solutions, and rely on their products to help save revenue and protect against unauthorized water usage.

As the marketplace has evolved, so has this trusted company. Over the years, Hydra-Shield has extended into new markets and expanded their product line. In order to continue to move into the future, and remain relevant to customers in an ever-changing business world, Hydra-Shield has refreshed its entire brand, logo and website to reflect the level of innovation they’ve been providing to the industry for years.

The Hydra-Shield logo took center stage as the transformation began. The new logo design now delivers instant recognition and a clear message to customers. The company name, which the hydrant security industry has come to know and trust, is now front and center. It’s accompanied by an iconic, protective shield that guards a single droplet of water. Even as a standalone graphic, the new logo distinctly represents Hydra-Shield’s steadfast mission: to protect one of the world’s most precious resources.

The new Hydra-Shield website features enhanced navigation, plus an ultra-sleek design. It showcases dramatic photography that powerfully illustrates the advanced products the company continues to provide to the marketplace. Clear, concise copy tells the story of Hydra-Shield’s unique services and solutions, and how they help customers save time and money every day. This competitive advantage is what sets Hydra-Shield apart from the competition, and keeps them ahead in today’s modern business world.

After decades of service, Hydra-Shield states that while its brand has evolved, its values remain the same. Hydra-Shield is proud to deliver only the best products, services and solutions to long-standing customers and new prospects. This new visual identity has transformed a long-trusted company into a contemporary brand that will continue to serve the hydrant security industry for years to come.


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Launch of Fyrelane USA

Fyrelane USA is a DBA of Hydra-Shield Manufacturing. Our Mission is to provide competitive pricing and quality products with a purpose in the fire industry. Our superior customer service and support is what keeps our customers coming back along with great products. Our Reason to launch Fyrelane USA was to re-brand our firefighting products and give them more exposure to the marketplace. We are offering more products in our line that will give you a better advantage in the market place. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at sales@fyrelaneusa.com or call us at 1-855-359-9555 and ask one of our friendly staff to assist you with your needs.

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