A MAGIC spray pioneered by a local fire officer is set to save the country millions of pounds a year.
Greg Edwards came up with a slick but affordable solution to the problem of rusted–up fire hydrants, which were costing a massive £650 each to repair.
And his secret is ... a spray can of food oil.
His brainwave has shown a 100 per cent success rate in trials and means each seized-up hydrant can be fully functional for less than £2.
And it’s so effective that firefighters all over the country have already dubbed it the ‘magic spray’.
Crucially, tests have shown Greg’s oil is safe enough to comply with the complex rulings about water coming into contact with chemicals.
Because water drawn from a fire hydrant can come into contact with humans or foodstuffs, it comes under the strict health regulations – which rules out convential anti-rust products.
“If something is rusted up at home you’d put some oil on it rather than dispose of it and buy a new one but of course it’s not that simple when public health is at stake,” said Greg.
Each one of the county’s 13,500 hydrants must work perfectly in the case of an emergency.
But they have a tendency to rust when unopened for years, and previously the only option has been replacement.
“In 2008 we were having to replace them at a rate of about one a week and the annual cost was £30,000 in Buckinghamshire,” said Greg.
Already his magic spray has been adopted by 23 fire services in the UK and the estimated saving to the fire service alone is £2 million a year.
It is now being expanded to every fire service in Britain and even some in Europe.
The manufacturers of the oil, which includes additives to reduce rusting, are Yorkshire-based Klüber Lubricants.
They were only too keen to help with Greg’s unusual request and carried out their own fire hydrant assessment of the oil, which is used on production lines for household names such as Coca Cola, Britvic, Arla and Allied Bakeries.
Darryl Keen, Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service area manger, said: “It just goes to show what can happen when groups of specialists work together to solve a problem.
“I’m very proud of the part we have played in introducing a practice that’s simple, effective and saving everyone a fortune.
“We have already saved £60,000 on hydrant maintenance in Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes. We will spend this money directly on services that help make the people we serve safer.”