London Fire Brigade

Fire hydrants

Fire hydrants are used by Fire Brigades to provide a supply of water in the vicinity. They are located in public footways or highways and are owned, installed and maintained by London’s four water companies who fit them to their water mains to provide the water supply needed.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) runs an annual hydrant inspection programme to check that all of London’s hydrants are in a good state of repair. The inspection programme runs over a four year cycle, meaning that over the course of four years every fire hydrant will have been inspected. We are able to undertake some minor repairs and maintenance in-house but any major work that involves dismantling the fire hydrant or turning off the domestic water supply has to be undertaken by the water company.

Any defects on hydrants such as leakage or a damaged cover should be reported to the local water company as the owner of the apparatus in the first instance.

Hydrant Obstruction

Obstructing a fire hydrant is an offence and can carry a fine if convicted. Please remember to park considerately and away from any adjacent hydrants.

Hydrant Marker Plates

Missing or defective hydrant marker plates are mostly handled by LFB. They are usually fitted to an adjacent wall, street furniture or an old style concrete post. The two numbers on the plate show the size of the water main and the approximate distance of the hydrant. In addition to marker plates, all hydrants are displayed on a computer in the cab of every London fire engine so that the nearest hydrant can be located while the crew are on route to a fire call.

Because missing hydrant marker plates are less of a risk than a hydrant that is defective and we carry information on the fire engine display, we allocate time once a year during the winter months to replacing any missing marker plates. However we will attend to any that might be hazardous, for example because they are fitted to an old style concrete post that has become damaged.

Reporting Hydrant Defects

Hydrant defects relating to leakage or safety should be reported to the local water company.

Any other defects or queries including missing hydrant marker plates can be reported to the LFB’s water team

New Sites and Developments

LFB’s water team are able to make recommendations on the best locations for the installation of private fire hydrants on new sites and developments. This will take account of the locations of any surrounding statutory fire hydrants and premises access points. LFB can make these recommendations on receipt of a suitable site plan.

Illegal Use

Water companies can licence the use of their hydrants to third parties such as street cleaners. However, if you suspect a hydrant is being used illegally without permission you can either report it to the local water company or to LFB. The more information you can provide about the user (such as location, date, time, company name, vehicle licence plate number or similar) the easier it is for us to investigate.

Contact details

The LFB’s water team can be contacted as follows:

By post at London Fire Brigade Headquarters, 169 Union Street, London, SE1 0LL
By e-mail at
By phone during normal office hours Mon-Fri on 0208 555 1200, extensions 31553 or 31105.