ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) — Athens Utilities is advising against painting the fire hydrant in your front yard.

The utility company said it has received phone calls about residents painting fire hydrants, and although the hydrants are located on private property, they are considered city property.

Furthermore, fire hydrants provide crucial information to firefighters when responding to a call. The top of fire hydrants are color coded to inform fire fighters about the water pressure released from each hydrant.

“Those colors are very important to us,” said Fire Captain Chris Gillman. “It tells us what we’re limited to and how much water we’re bringing in, and how many trucks we can use based on that hydrant.”

Fire hydrants can release 500 to 1,500 gallons of water per minute. By painting or decorating fire hydrants, firefighters can be delayed when responding to a fire.

Jimmy Junkin, Athens Utilities Water Department Manager, shared that changing the color of a fire hydrant can cause problems for the home owner and their neighbors.

“It not only protects the owners of that house but a thousand feet around it. They drag that hose wherever they’ve got to from that hydrant to get to a fire.”