Water supply: Procedures must take precedence

Blocked hydrant incident highlights differences between public opinion and fire service best practices


Check out this controversy at play again, this time in New Jersey: NJ firefighters smash minivan windows to connect hose to hydrant.

For today’s discussion of water supply, we reach back to a controversy from last year, when firefighters responding to an apartment fire in Anaheim, California, unexpectedly set the stage for an important discussion that pitted fire procedure against public opinion.

The fire department needed to establish a water supply during the incident – and it is for exactly this reason that the city of Anaheim is outfitted with hydrants. The fire itself was no more special than any other fire to which the department had responded, or any other department for that matter, but it made news because the hydrant was blocked by a parked car.

As you will see from the photos, the fire department established the water supply by breaking out the car’s back windows and running the supply line through the car. This resulted in a lot of push back from Anaheim residents who wondered why the fire department did not exercise other options. So, let’s examine the options suggested by the public and the possible domino effects of choosing these other options.

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