‘Streamlines the process’: Cleveland firefighters use new digital system to help track flushing of fire hydrants

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CLEVELAND -- Fire hydrants can be a lifeline to put out fires, and now a digital system is helping ensure they're working properly in Cleveland.

Each year, Cleveland firefighters check and flush all 18,000 hydrants across the city.

This marks the second year Cleveland firefighters are using the Cityworks software system to track flushing.

The system includes mapping and shows which hydrants have been checked, when, and by whom, and it allows firefighters to immediately communicate any problems to Cleveland Water.

“Without water, we can't really do much on a fire scene, so we rely heavily on working hydrants,” said Cleveland Fire Lt. Tim Vuraich. “I think this new system we've worked out with the water department has really streamlined the hydrant process and really helped us to report issues to them and for them to get out faster to address them.”

Cleveland Water Commissioner Alex Margevicius said 8.5 percent of hydrants need further inspection by Cleveland Water, which may involve repair or replacement.

About 1,000 hydrants in the City of Cleveland are replaced annually, according to Margevicius. He said the digital system provides real-time tracking of hydrants.

“Now that's so much more seamless, flows so much better and we make sure we get the work and can get it done in a timely way,” Margevicius said. “If we get a water quality complaint, maybe they stirred up a little dirty water, we can see the fire department was out there flushing.”

He also reiterated that opening hydrants for children to play during the summer can reduce water pressure and compromise fire protection.

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