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Unlike the red fire hydrants we’re used to seeing by the side of the road in American films and TV programmes, fire hydrants in the UK are found underground. And they’re easy to find. Either a yellow H painted on the road or pavement marks the spot, or a yellow sign by the side of the road indicates one is nearby.

These are primarily there for the fire service to attach the hoses to so they have an unlimited supply of water at their disposal. However, with permission from the local water board, they can be used for other reasons, and large business premises can also access them for their own fire-fighting purposes.

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In order to bring that water to the surface, you need to fit a standpipe to the underground hydrant. A larger version allows fire-fighting hoses to be coupled to the 2.5-inch connector, and are also available with one and two outlets. These will provide plenty of water power, and with the check valve option, will ensure the flow of water travels in the right direction.

For more domestic and commercial usage, there is also a smaller standpipe, which those of a certain age will remember from the water droughts of the 1970s. These are generally used by contractors, such as those cleaning graffiti off of walls. They convert the larger connection to a standard hose pipe connection.

Once the standpipe is secured to the water hydrant, you’ll then need to turn it on. Rather than trying to reach in a hole in the ground, hydrant keys and T-bars will allow you to do it with ease without straining yourself.