Four-Way Hydrant Valve
A different version of a four-way hydrant valve, to provide an immediate direct hydrant stream while allowing the later connection of a pumper, has been developed by two Maryland men.
Called the Humat valve, it was designed by Bob Hughes, an industrial engineer, and Hurley Matthews, a member of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Department for 16 years and a lieutenant in Engine Company 14 of the Baltimore County Fire Department. They were motivated to improve on four-way hydrant valves after attending several pump schools at the University of Maryland Fire Service Extension, now the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.
Some of the advantages of the Humat valve are simplicity of design, which requires a minimal level of training to maintain proficiency in its use, positive locks that can be preset for initial operation, and repair and replacement of parts locally with standard parts and tools. Also, if the pumper malfunctions or breaks down, the Humat valve automatically returns the original hydrant line to hydrant pressure.
The Humat valve is made of lightweight aluminum alloy that has been heat-treated for extra strength and hard-coated to prevent corrosion and increase surface strength. The main chamber has an inside diameter of 5½ inches and a resilient seal butterfly valve that is operated by a positive-control lock made from aluminum alloy bar stock 70-75 with a tensile strength of 83,000 psi.
The upper chamber has a 4-inch inside diameter and a clapper valve that is automatically operated by a differential in water pressure.
A design feature of the valve is the interchangeability of all upper and lower chamber flanges. Because of this feature, the Humat valve can accommodate any thread or hose sizes. For example, many fire departments are using large diameter hose, which requires larger openings for the upper chamber. Flanges are available for hose sizes up to 6 inches for the lower chamber and up to 5 inches for the upper chamber. At the present time, tests are under way with Storz quarter-turn couplings, which are an integral part of the designed flange, eliminating the need for adapters.
With its large diameter chambers, the Humat valve should not be a limiting factor in the flow available from a hydrant.