Firefighters enlisted in the battle against bursts

Chris Burt


Northumbrian Water is helping to train firefighters across the North East in the battle to beat burst water pipes and reduce the chances of customers experiencing discoloured water.

The company is working with fire and rescue services across the region to help them to better understand how they can reduce the chances of inadvertently causing a burst or discolouration when they attend incidents.

Firefighters have been attending sessions at Northumbrian Water’s training facility, The Water Shed, in Pity Me, Durham, and a special video has been produced to spread the learning throughout the region’s frontline crews.

When attending incidents, it is often necessary for firefighters to operate hydrants, which can cause fluctuations in the pressure of local water supplies. Incorrectly doing so can cause massive spikes in water pressure that result in bursts and loss of water supply to local properties.

The training gives the firefighters the understanding of why this happens and the knowledge of how to avoid it.

Cris Burt, Trainer at Northumbrian Water, said: “In the type of high-urgency situations in which firefighters work, there can often be a need to take action quickly. However, there is a danger that incorrectly operating valves on the water network when shutting off a water supply can build up pressure very quickly and cause a burst that leaves customers without water or with discoloured supply.

“We are working with firefighters, as well as other organisations that have operational access to hydrants and other parts of the network, to ensure we continue to deliver the best possible standards of service to our customers.

“We are carrying out training at our centre in Pity Me, but the production of the video means we can get this important message to as many firefighters as possible.”

For further media information, call 0191 3015678.

Northumbrian Water Limited supplies 2.7 million customer in the North East with both water and sewerage services, trading as Northumbrian Water, and 1.8 million customers in the South East with water services, trading as Essex & Suffolk Water.

In the most recent survey by the Consumer Council for Water, Northumbrian Water was named the UK’s most trusted water company by its customers, while 2017/2018 customer satisfaction scores placed the company in joint first place. 2017 also saw Northumbrian Water named the world’s most ethical water company for the seventh successive year.

Abbey Road, Pity Me, Durham DH1 5FJ. Telephone 0345 6047468. Website:

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