Bad Design #12 — I hope it’s not an emergency

Firefighters are a fit bunch, and thank god for that. Besides being able to carry your limp body out of a blazing building, they need to be able to open these hydrants, with these tiny handles. Geez, I hope it’s not an emergency.

A fair bit of strength is require to open these hydrants, and although most firefighters are strong, this doesn’t mean we should assume they are, nor should we put them to the test. They are under enough stress during an operation that whatever can be done to make their lives easier, the better. Like getting your car out of the bloody way when their sirens are wailing (you know who you are…oh wait, you probably don’t..wake up!).

This type of handle may assist quick spinning, but what about the initial opening, and final closing? Did somebody say Archimedes?

Interestingly this type of handle is used around the world. So it must be good right? or maybe it just

does the job

Well, just doing the job doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. What if you made the wheel bigger? What if you replaced the wheel with a level? What if you combined both a lever and a wheel in the one?


Just search “fire hydrant handle” in Google Images… you tell me.


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