The Color of Maine Fire Hydrants Can Help You Avoid Death
Painted Fire Hydrants
I grew up on the New Hampshire/Massachusetts state line -- more specifically, the Salem, NH/Methuen, MA line. And if you know anything about that area, you know that Methuen turns into Lawrence pretty damn quick.
It just so happens that there's a ton of graffiti in parts of Lawrence -- all over buildings, sidewalks, and even fire hydrants.
I went through life assuming fire hydrants were just painted either red or yellow because those happened to be the standard colors you'd always see them painted as. Part of me also thought they were painted the same color as the town or city's high school team colors as a way to show town/city pride.
Turns out, I was way off.
Fire hydrants are purposely color-coded
According to a post by the Portland Water District, the fire hydrant colors (at least in Portland) aren't any mistake or based on whatever color paint happened to be handy at the time. The colors are actually related to the water flow available to firefighters at each hydrant, which obviously helps them make the best decision on which hydrant to use and is available for the amount of water needed depending upon the size of the fire they're facing.
According to the Portland Water District, a blue fire hydrant supplies firefighters with more than 1,500 gallons of water per minute. Green hydrants supply anywhere between 1,000 and 1,499 gallons of water per minute. Orange hydrants can hook firefighters up with anywhere from 500 to 999 gallons of water per minute.
And ironically, even though a red fire hydrant may seem like the most likely color to come to mind when thinking about hydrants goes, provide the least amount of water, supplying less than 500 gallons of water per minute.
So, while street art is cool and there can be some really intricate and creative designs painted on fire hydrants, it's important to leave the colors the way they are. Your life could depend on it someday.