If you are lucky enough to own a swimming pool, you will know that filling it up can be a time consuming and difficult task.
Perhaps you have a new pool that has yet to ever be filled, or you have drained an old pool for the winter and now wish to fill it up again in time for the summer season?
Whatever your reasons may be, it is understandable why you might consider asking the fire department to lend you a hand. Who else in the area has access to a huge water supply and pressurized hoses?
Whilst it is understandable that you might ask your local fire department to fill up your pool, it is not necessarily advisable. Most fire departments will turn down your request, and those who accept will usually charge a significant fee.
There are a number of very good reasons why this is the case, and we will go through them all in this article.
We will also look at the rare circumstances in which a fire department might be persuaded to fill up a swimming pool, and cover the alternative ways in which you yourself can complete the task. So let’s dive in!
7 Key Reasons Why Firefighters Won’t Fill Up Your Swimming Pool
It Could Put Lives At Risk
Firefighters play a hugely important role in maintaining the safety and security of everyone in their area. Their primary role is to serve the public, protect properties from damage, and save lives.
They are an emergency service, and therefore need to be ready to be called to an incident at any time, day or night. What is more, they must always have a ready supply of water in their tanks in case a fire breaks out.
Filling up a swimming pool would not only diminish their water supply, but would also distract their workforce and draw them away from their key duties.
If an incident were to be called in, they would be less prepared to react and less able to respond quickly. In the worst case scenario, this could result in fatalities.
It Would Use Up Their Precious Time
Even when firefighter’s aren’t out on emergency calls, they are incredibly busy. They have little time to sit around and accept menial jobs because there is always paperwork, safety checks, educational outreach and other duties to perform.
If they went to fill up your swimming pool they would risk falling behind in these other areas which are far more important.
It Could Negatively Impact Their Public Image
Firefighters have a revered role in our society. They are respected by the general public for their bravery, selflessness and efficiency.
Maintaining their good reputation and living up to the public’s high expectations is vitally important for the continued success of any fire department, especially because they rely on people listening to and obeying them during emergency situations.
Therefore, if they began filling up swimming pools, public opinion may start to waver, and people might consider them to be a waste of money and resources. This could not only impact their funding, but also their ability to perform their job effectively.
It Could Set An Unwanted Precedent
If the fire department agreed to fill up your swimming pool as a one-off favor, then it might set an unwanted precedent in the local area.
The last thing any fire department wants is to be inundated with swimming pool filling requests, and it would seem unfair and biased for them to fill one person’s pool and not someone else's. It is therefore wiser for them to refuse all requests, rather than invite anger and criticism.
It Would Cost Them Money
The machinery and equipment that firefighter’s use is top of the range and highly powerful… It is also incredibly expensive to run.
The cost of a fire truck can be as much as 1 million dollars, and that is not including the fuel it takes to run it, the cost of water, the maintenance and safety check costs and, of course, the cost of the firefighter’s wages.
Sending two firefighters out in a truck to fill a swimming pool would most certainly lose the department money, even if they charged you a large sum for the job.
They Could Damage Your Swimming Pool
As well as being expensive to run, the machinery and equipment that firefighter’s use is unbelievably powerful and could easily damage your pool or your property.
The pressurized hoses are intended to send jets of water high into burning buildings, so they could easily crack pool tiles and patio slabs if misdirected.
This would cause the fire department hassle to rectify, and they might even face a legal suit for damages, so it really isn’t worth the risk for them.
They Might Not Meet Water Quality Standards
And lastly, the water that firefighter’s use to tackle fires is collected for open water sources such as local lakes, reservoirs and rivers. The quality of the water is not a concern and it therefore does not need to meet safety standards.
However, pool water does have to be free from contamination and dangerous bacteria, and must meet preset water quality standards. It would cost the fire department unnecessary time, money and effort to jump through these water quality hoops in order to fill your swimming pool, and those resources could be better spent elsewhere.
2 Reasons Why Firefighters Might Fill Up A Swimming Pool
To Raise Money For Charity, The Service Or The City
On some occasions, fire departments have been known to fill up swimming pools in order to raise money for local charities or for the city. On these occasions the filling of the pool is turned into an event, or the private money received for the service is allocated to a good cause.
As it costs such a great deal of money to hire the expertise, equipment and manpower of the fire department, it can raise a healthy sum.
If The Fire Department Is Particularly Under-used
In some sleepy towns and areas of the country, fire departments have been known to fill swimming pools because they are not busy enough with other duties and have the time to spare.
On these occasions they often need the extra money to keep the department running smoothly so that they can be on hand for emergencies if ever they are needed.
How To Approach Your Local Fire Department
As we have established, you are unlikely to be successful when asking your local firefighters to fill your pool, however, it is not illegal to ask and you are therefore completely within your rights to do so.
If you do decide to give them a try, always google the phone number of your local fire department and call them directly. Alternatively, you could pay the station a visit and ask them in person.
You should NEVER CALL 911 to enquire if the fire department will fill your swimming pool. This is because 911 is an emergency phone line that should only be used in urgent and life threatening situations.
There could be people in serious pain or danger whose calls can’t get through if you are blocking the line with a non-urgent query. In the worst case scenario, it could be the difference between living and dying for some people.
2 Ways You Can Fill Up A Pool Yourself
Ideally, you would not need to call your fire department and bother them about your swimming pool, but would use one of these alternative methods to fill it up instead…
Use A Garden Hose And A Tap
It might sound too simple to be plausible, but actually, filling your pool using a regular garden hose and tap is a perfectly legitimate course of action.
The benefits of doing it this way are that you do not need to rely on anyone else, or pay for a workhand, and the use of public water is cheap and easy.
The downside to using a tap and hose is that it is very slow. In fact, it can take up to 2 days to fill a big pool by using a tap alone, and in some hot and drought-prone areas you can incur extra charges for your excessive water use.
It is therefore a good idea to contact your local municipality or water authority before you begin filling your pool, to let them know what you are doing. They may be able to supply you with greater water pressure temporarily, to speed up the process.
Call A Local Pool Filling Company
Perhaps the most popular and commonly employed method of filling a pool is contacting a pool company. These companies can fill a pool from their highly pressurized water tank supply in just a few hours, greatly reducing the time needed for the job.
They will also balance the PH of your water, making sure it is of a safe and clean quality, and will even be able to clean your pool too if you so desire.
The downside to using these companies is that they can be expensive. It is worth doing your research and comparing a few quotes before you decide which company to go with.
However, once you have found a good company you will have the peace of mind that they can come and help you out with any pool related issues in the future.
Why You Should NOT Use A Fire Hydrant To Fill Your Pool
Many people wonder if they can use a fire hydrant as a quick and powerful way to fill up their pool. The answer is NO. It is an extremely bad idea to use a fire hydrant, and could result in disastrous consequences.
This is because the water pressure in a fire hydrant is far too high to be compatible with a regular garden hose, and could damage your property and the sidewalk it is situated on if it is not used properly.
The water pressure could be enough to knock you off your feet, risking injury to yourself and others, and if the pressure builds up it could damage the underground supply pipes and cause disruption and money to the city.
Fire hydrants have the primary purpose of supplying firefighters with pressurized water when they need to put out a fire. They require specialist training to be opened and closed properly, and are far more difficult to operate than you might realise.
If you damage or misuse one, you could negatively impact the fire department’s ability to do their job , and you could also face criminal charges. So the overriding message is… don’t even try!
Can Firefighters Use Your Pool As A Water Source?
In legal terms, you are under no obligation to allow a fire department to use your pool water as a water source. However, in ethical terms, if a fire department needs to use your pool in order to put out a fire, then you should definitely let them.
In general, firefighters use public water supplies such as lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, as well as water in underground pipes leading to fire hydrants, as their primary sources.
However, in some very serious emergencies these sources may dry up, run out or not be accessible, in which case firefighters might have to think on the spot and use alternative supplies. Terrible forest fires and industrial fires are prime examples of when this might happen.
On these occasions, the use of your pool water could mean the difference between a fire being brought under control, or the loss of life and destruction of land and property. This is why, if a fire department asks to use your pool as a water source you should always say yes.