West Yorkshire fire crews are having the water that is set aside for them to tackle major blazes stolen. The water hydrants are being tapped into by businesses, around 20 million litres a month.
Senior operations manager for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Ian Bitcon, stated that this behaviour was putting lives at risk.
The hydrants are being tapped into by businesses in such a way that the hydrant can become damaged, resulting in them not being able to be accessed by the fire brigade. The water supply to residents can be discoloured and even interrupted through these illegal actions.
A drain jetting company is amongst the types of businesses that are tapping into the hydrants. The company was using the hydrants to refill their tanks. The method they used to extract the water posed a great risk to water contamination as they did not use a double check valve or a non-return flow valve. They did not hold a licence and were taken to court as a result of their actions. The company were fined £1,000 plus legal costs.
Some hydrants are accessible to road sweepers and window cleaners, these hydrants are marked WO. The hydrants allocated for the use of the fire brigade are marked FH.