Retired firefighters wash, paint hydrants

Local News

Retired Galesburg Firefighter Mike Whitson uses a power-washer to clean a city fire hydrant on Liberty Street. (contributed by the City of Galesburg.)

In recognition of Fire Prevention Week, members of the Galesburg Retired Firefighters Association (GRFA) have revisited old friends and kept the city safer in recent weeks.

With the support and direction of the Galesburg Water Department, retirees have washed and painted about 60 fire hydrants in the southwest part of the city, a news release says.

Hydrant painting is typically assigned to temporary summer employees. With more than 1,500 hydrants in Galesburg and a reduction in the summer workforce, the group offered to help with the important maintenance of the city’s most visible water supply element.

The periodic painting makes for increased service life, improves hydrant visibility for fire response, and allows for a better town image, the release says.

“It’s nice to get out with old friends, help out the great folks at the water department, and do some good for the city that gave most of us our livelihood,” said GRFA President Mike Whitson. “The hydrants seem to turn a little harder in retirement and we banter about the time we used a hydrant at a fire here and there. We’re glad to help.”

Galesburg follows hydrant-color standards set forth by the National Fire Protection Association and American Water Works Association. Public hydrants, found on most corners in the city, are painted chrome yellow. There are also about 200 private fire hydrants in the city that serve to supplement fire sprinkler and standpipe systems in larger facilities such as shopping centers and industrial plants. Private hydrants are painted all red.

The retired firefighters’ group will continue washing and painting hydrants until the weather drops below 50 degrees in the coming weeks.

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