Innovation That Matters

Boston scheme encourages residents to look after the city's fire hydrants


Residents can volunteer to take responsibility for a nearby water dispenser under the city's Adopt-A-Hydrant program, keeping it free of ice in the winter.

We’ve already seen authorities in the District of Columbia trial regional adoption schemes with its Canopy Keepers program. The City of Boston is now following suit with the Adopt-A-Hydrant scheme, which encourages residents to take responsibility for one of the city’s water dispensers and keep it free of ice in the winter. Created in collaboration with Code For America, visitors to the site can see a map of all the fire hydrants in the city. After navigating to their desired address, they can then register to adopt one of the unclaimed hydrants near them. In order to add an element of fun to the process, adopters can even name the hydrant as they see fit. Once volunteers have agreed to look after their chosen hydrant, they must check it to ensure it is free of snow and ice. Considering there are around 13,000 such sidewalk dispensers in the city, the program aims to relieve some of the work normally carried out by the Boston Fire Department. The Adopt-A-Hydrant model is now being deployed in cities such as Chicago, Syracuse and Banff, while locations such as Honolulu have adapted it to ensure that its civil defense sirens are in working order. Are there other ways that the masses can be leveraged to help out in their own community? Spotted by: Alexia M



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