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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State’s fire hydrants have a new look. Here’s why.

Allison Campbell
A newly painted fire hydrant outside of the Rhatigan Student Center reflects light from the afternoon sun. The hydrants were recently repainted to prevent rust.

The fire hydrants on Wichita State’s campus have recently gotten a makeover — they’ve all been painted. The hydrants’ bodies remain silver, but the caps are now black.

They look different from the rest of the city’s, which are silver with red caps. Many hydrants in other places also follow this color scheme, or are completely red or yellow. And there’s a reason for this.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a code for fire hydrants that convey information to firefighters. Colors can indicate the rate of water flow and even where the water comes from. Yellow signals that the hydrant connects to a public water supply and a red cap means that water flow is less than 500 gallons per minute. 

But the NFPA can only recommend this code. It is ultimately up to individual jurisdictions whether they follow it.

Eason Bryer, the executive director of Facilities Services, said the hydrants have to be repainted every few years to prevent rust. And while the color change might seem insignificant, he said there’s a lot of collaboration and discussion that went into the new look.

“Some of the fire hydrants you see on campus belong to Wichita State University, and some belong to the City of Wichita and the city fire department,” Bryer said.

This means that WSU’s Fire and Safety Office had to collaborate with the city and its fire department before making the change. 

In the end, black was chosen simply for aesthetic reasons, as it’s one of the university’s colors. 

And, Bryer said, “the yellow would have just faded in the sunlight.”

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About the Contributors
Ainsley Smyth
Ainsley Smyth, Reporter
Ainsley Smyth is a second-year reporter for The Sunflower. Smyth is a sophomore communications major with an emphasis in journalism and media productions. Her dream job is to travel back in time 30 years and then be a reporter for Rolling Stone. Smyth uses she/her pronouns.
Allison Campbell
Allison Campbell, Editor in Chief
Allison Campbell is the editor in chief of The Sunflower. Campbell is a junior pursuing a journalism and media production degree with a minor in English. Campbell hopes to pursue a career in writing or editing after graduation. They use any pronouns.

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  • B

    BillJun 10, 2024 at 8:36 pm


  • E

    Earl James WilderJun 7, 2024 at 7:46 pm

    Consider having the art students or any interested parties, submit a design and customize the fire hydrants. Valley Center has done this and some amazing art had bloomed. I have seen this done in other cities and the creativity is AWESOME. I can picture WUSHOCK fire hydrants. GO SHOCKS!