Fire Flow Protection

Southwest Regional Water District (SWRWD) services primarily rural areas. The original distribution system was financed by Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), which would only finance the installation of water mains large enough to provide domestic flows for household use. Many of these watermains are inadequate for providing fire flows.

When SWRWD converted to a "regional water district" (ORC 6119) in 1992, the sizing restrictions for NEW water mains were eliminated and many of the watermains installed since that time are designed to provide for fire suppression. However, much of the District's distribution system remains inadequate for providing fire flows. Customers should contact their local fire department for information on how fire protection is provided for in their area.

Even where fire flows are NOT available, the District will still install hydrants (approximately every 1,000 feet) for maintenance purposes; in fire flow areas, hydrants are usually installed at 500 foot intervals. However, the public should NOT assume that all hydrants are capable of delivering fire flows. In an effort to provide information to local fire departments, the District has color coded its water hydrants.
  • If the hydrant is YELLOW, it WILL provide flows at or greater than 500 gallons per minute (GPM), which is the rate of flow normally required for a fire suppression rating.
  • If the hydrant is RED, the flow is less than 500 GPM, which is NOT generally considered adequate for fire suppression.
In all areas, the District permits the local fire departments to use water hydrants to fill their tanker trucks, regardless if the hydrant is red or yellow.

Insurance Services Organization (ISO), of the State of Ohio provides the determination whether a hydrant qualifies as a fire suppression hydrant.

Residents should check with the their local fire department or the District's office before assuming that any hydrant on the District's distribution system is capable of delivering fire flows.