Fire Hydrants

What we do - Fire hydrant maintenance

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service have approximately 14,700 fire hydrants spread throughout the county. It is our responsibility to ensure that these hydrants are kept serviceable and available for use in the event of fire.

These covers may be found in the footpath or in the road way.

Marker plates can be seen fixed to a post or wall.

It is illegal to use a fire hydrant to obtain water for purposes other than fire fighting, unless authorised by the water authority or other person to whom the hydrant belongs. Unauthorised access to the hydrant pit is not allowed. Persons found to be using fire hydrants without the appropriate authorisation are liable to prosecution.

A person commits an offence if he/she damages or obstructs a fire hydrant and may also be liable to prosecution.

Please contact the fire hydrant Officer if you are concerned a hydrant is being used illegally.

In the event of fire, it can be paramount that firefighters have access to water supplies quickly. Obstruction of fire hydrants, particularly inconsiderate parking could place the lives of you, your family and your neighbours at risk. 

A person commits an offence if he/she damages or obstructs a fire hydrant and may also be liable to prosecution.

Return to top


Hydrants shall be subject to a periodic test / inspection at routine intervals to be determined by the Service, taking into account relevant factors such as location and the likely use of the hydrant.

Fire hydrants and their markers are routinely inspected, tested and repaired using the following methods:

  • Above ground inspection

Pays attention to the hydrant frame, the cover, the surrounding surface and the hydrant indicator plate, which is checked for damage and to see if the information shown is correct.

  • Below ground inspection

Involves the Hydrant pit and the hydrant itself. This will find any leakage, which may affect the delivery of water for fire fighting purposes.

  • Wet pressure testing

Carried out if there are doubts about a Hydrant’s performance. Checks the water flow to ensure the hydrant is working properly.

  • Active community role

We encourage contact from the general public in relation to problems or enquiries about fire hydrants. Reports of damaged fire hydrant related equipment, are inspected and repaired as soon as possible.

On occasions, fire hydrant markers may need to be relocated.
(For example, when a property owner wishes to remove a boundary wall.)

To relocate a hydrant marker, please use the contact details at the bottom of this page.

Return to top

When a new development within the county is planned, Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service determines the risk and recommends the number and position of fire hydrants required to the water authority. Each hydrant is strategically placed, to ensure the minimum provision is made, whilst delivering the optimum supply of fire fighting water delivered from a mains system. Alternative water supplies are taken into account when assessing the overall requirements for risk in the area.

Please contact the fire hydrant officer for advice / information, for developments affecting or requiring fire hydrants in Cornwall.

Private fire hydrants are located on private water mains that are not the responsibility of the local water company or the fire and rescue service. These are generally located on large sites such as hospitals, military establishments, and industrial estates, but may also be installed to provide cover for specific risk properties. Private hydrants are the responsibility of the owners/occupiers on whose land they are installed and will not be maintained by either the water company or the Fire and Rescue Service. Private fire hydrants are inspected by Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.

Private hydrants should be installed in accordance with the appropriate british standards and should be compatible with fire and rescue service equipment.

Where private hydrants are installed they should be tested and maintained in good working order by the responsible person(s), especially if they are identified on Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service risk information sheets as a reliable water source for fire fighting.

Return to top