Louisville Water & Louisville Fire Department Share a Long History in Serving the Community

Fire Prevention Week: October 9-15

It’s fitting that as we recognize Fire Prevention Week, Louisville Water will celebrate its 162nd birthday this Sunday, October 16. Did you know that one of the main reasons for founding Louisville Water in 1860 was to address the city’s concerns about putting out fires? The Steam Engine Fire Department of Louisville formed in 1858, making it the third oldest professional fire department in the country and shortly after, Louisville Water began providing an abundant supply of water that firefighters needed.

Today, the partnership between the two entities remains strong.

Louisville Water owns and maintains more than 25,000 fire hydrants in our service area. There is an entire team dedicated to testing, servicing, and maintaining the fire hydrants year-round.

Louisville Water and Louisville Fire Department communicate with each other to determine which hydrants need to be evaluated. Louisville Water Plumber Leader Chris Meeks said some might have a small leak, others need to have worn parts replaced, and then there are cases where a hydrant has extensive damage because it’s been hit.

The hydrant team regularly tests hydrants for proper pressure levels to ensure they are working when the firefighters rely on them during fires. They also work to winterize the hydrants each year to try to protect against colder temperatures.

As part of Fire Prevention Week, one of Louisville Water’s hydrant teams checked the fire hydrant outside Station No. 4. They gave it a good cleaning, replaced one small part, and the renovation process was successful.

Before firefighters arrive to a scene, they use an iPad to locate the accessible hydrants in the area. Louisville Fire Department spokesman, Major Bobby Cooper, explained that firefighters actually have to learn how to handle fire hydrants themselves as part of their regular training.

“A properly functioning hydrant is a critical component in firefighting. We rely on them (Louisville Water) throughout the year,” Cooper said. He added, “Often times what we’ll have to do on a fire scene is call the water company and let them know we have a significant incident and we’re pulling a lot of fire and they can increase that (water) pressure for us. We couldn’t do our job without them.”