Fire Hydrant Locks

Fire Hydrant Locks


Jacksonville       Duval County                 904-346-1266
St Augustine      St Johns County             904-824-7144
Orange Park       Clay County                   904-264-6444
Jacksonville Beaches    Duval County      904-246-3969
Fernandina          Nassau County               904-277-3040
Macclenny          Baker County                 904-259-5091
Palm Coast         Flagler County                386-439-5290
Daytona              Volusia County               386-253-4911

GAINESVILLE    ALACHUA COUNTY       352-335-8555
Serving all of Florida  and Georgia    at     904-346-1266

EMAIL LARRY@1STPROP.COM (feel free to email your bidding packages here)

Fire Hydrant Locks

Hydrant locks can be used to prevent unauthorized physical access to a water asset via a fire hydrant.Application
Installing hydrant locks on all hydrants in a system may help to prevent introduction of unauthorized substances into the system.

Location Used
On any fire hydrant valve.


Fire hydrants are installed at strategic locations throughout a community’s water distribution system to supply water for fire fighting. However, because there are many hydrants in a water municipality’s system and are often located in residential neighborhoods, industrial districts, and other areas where they cannot be easily observed and/or guarded, they are potentially vulnerable to unauthorized access. Many municipalities, states, in all the EPA’s Regions have recognized through the EPA’s mandated “Vulnerability” a potential vulnerability inherent in hydrants and have instituted programs to secure hydrants from unauthorized use or worse terrorism. For example, EPA Region 1 has included locking hydrants as number 7 on its “Drinking Water Security and Emergency Preparedness” Top Ten List for small ground water suppliers.
Captivater(tm) and Tool
Captivater(tm) and Tool
and Wrench
A “hydrant lock” is a physical security device designed to prevent unauthorized access to the water supply through a fire hydrant thereby preventing the introduction of toxic agents or contaminants into the water system. Hydrant locks can also ensure water and water pressure availability from the fire hydrant in addition to preventing water theft and the subsequent loss of water revenue to the municipality or water purveyor. Hydrant locks which prevent access to the hydrant hose or pumper connections also protect the caps themselves being stolen or foreign objects or substances from being introduced into the hydrant. Hydrant security locks have been successful in numerous municipalities throughout all weather and climate challenges.There are effectively three ways to secure or protect a fire hydrant. The first way is to cover the operating nut with a lockable steel cap. This type of fire hydrant lock is basically a steel cover or cap that prevents access to the operating nut of a fire hydrant and prevents unauthorized persons from opening the fire hydrant valve. This type of lock also shields the valve from being broken off by vandals. Should an unauthorized user attempt to breach the hydrant’s actuator lock by force and succeed in breaking the hydrant’s lock, the vandal will probably only succeed in bending the operating valve rendering the hydrant useless. The second way is to cover the fire hydrant nozzles and operating nut with a locking strap mechanism so that the caps and the operating nut are shielded and are inaccessible. The third way is to replace the existing hydrant caps with secure caps that are lockable and tamper proof and therefore cannot be removed by unauthorized personnel.
McGard Hydrant Lock and Wrench
McGard Hydrant Lock
and Wrench
All hydrant locks are designed so that the hydrants can only be accessed from the cap or stem side by special “key wrenches” or “key tools”. These specialized wrenches or tools are always distributed to the fire departments, public works departments, and other authorized persons so that they can access the hydrants as needed. An inventory of the wrenches or tools (key control) is accounted for by serial numbers and is kept by the municipality so that the location of all devices is known. These special devises can only be possessed by the municipality or corresponding fire department.

Attributes and Features

The most important features of hydrant locks are their ability to detour unauthorized use and control access to the drinking water supply. Some hydrant locks are constructed from stainless steel or treated alloyed steel. Stainless steel locks are inherently better at resisting the environment in all climates; however, they are more expensive than alloy locks. However, any locking mechanism on a hydrant can help to ensure that the hydrant can only be operated by authorized personnel who have the specialized key to work the hydrant.There are four major vendors for fire hydrant locks with differing philosophies for securing access to the hydrant: Flow Security Systems, Mueller Company, McGard, and Hydra-Shield, the specifics of each are discussed below.

At a minimum, hydrant locking systems consists of a secure lock and a special key wrench that disposes the hydrant to normal use. Flow Security System’s Captivater™ simply replaces the original hydrant caps with secure caps that can only be unlocked with a special tool thereby preventing the use of the hydrant as well as preventing the introduction of potentially harmful contaminates into the water system. The McGard locks require a universal security plug key for installing and removing the hydrant locks.

Mueller Hydrant Lock
Mueller Hydrant Lock
The principle behind the McGard and Hydra-Shield hydrant locks is the same. First, a “mating collar” is fitted over the operating nut. The mating collar surrounds the operating nut, preventing a wrench from gripping the nut and allowing access to the nut only from the top. Next, a “drive plug” is installed on the top part of the operating nut. The drive plug secures the hydrant’s operating nut and prevents it from being from turned. Last, an outer collar is installed over the drive plug, effectively “locking” the hydrant by denying access to the operating nut or enabling water flow through the hydrant.The McGard and Hydra-Shield locking mechanisms operate differently. The McGard lock is mechanical, and is installed and uninstalled using a specialized plug key. The McGard plug cap is rounded and has no edges to grip; therefore, standard wrenches cannot open it, and only McGard’s specialized operating wrenches can only be used to operate the hydrant. The Hydra-Shield lock is magnetic. The specialized key wrench works by pulling the magnetic drive plug up and “unlocking” the hydrant. Turning the wrench after “unlocking” the drive plug turns the hydrant’s operating nut to the open position. The combination of the location of the lock within the outer body and the specialized properties of the magnet ensure that standard magnets cannot be used to remove the lock. The outer collar also spins freely around the operating nut, preventing a potential vandal from gripping the operating nut and turning it through the mating collar. This can add an additional layer of protection for the hydrant.
McGard Hydrant Lock
McGard Hydrant Lock
Flow Security Systems, Inc. Captivater(tm) Hydrant Locking
Captivater(tm) Hydrant
Mueller’s Hydrant DefenderT systems consist of an enclosure that fits over the operating nut and caps of the hydrant. The defender is constructed from 14 gauge stainless steel straps that connect the caps and keep them from being removed. The straps are locked in place by a uniquely coded mechanical lock. The manufacturer recommends a specific lock, although users may substitute other types of locks if they wish.Flow Security System’s Captivater™, is designed to replace the hydrants original hose and pumper caps. They are functionally identical to the hydrants original cap in fit and form but once installed cannot be removed without the special “wrench key”. The Captivater™ utilizes a mechanical design which disengages the outer protective locking body from the inner threaded mechanism. Disengaging the threads from the outer drive nut makes the cap virtually tamper proof. Once the special wrench key is used to unlock the cap, the cap can be removed utilizing the standard hydrant wrench.
The Mueller and McGard locks are manufactured to fit standard hydrant sizes. Hydra-Shield customizes its locks for any hydrant. Flow Security Systems’ caps fit standard hydrants but custom orders are available.
Installation of a hydrant lock is generally straightforward, although the process may differ depending on the lock vendor. Locks are either installed on the existing hydrant’s hose and pumper connections, the operating nut, or on a new nut that is supplied with the hydrant lock and retrofitted in the field. In the latter case, the standard hydrant operating is removed and replaced with a special nut that will operate with the hydrant lock.

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