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Water board, fire group will work together on hydrants

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By Nick Schrager

Representatives of the Washington County Fire Protection Association visited the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission’s board Wednesday to talk about the use of fire hydrants in the county.
Forrest Carrico, chief of the county fire department, along with assistant chief Jim Logsdon, addressed the board about the use of fire hydrants. Carrico explained that while he is aware that the county cannot use hydrants for direct pumping from the department’s pumper trucks, a letter sent out in 2006 from the water board indicated that firefighters could use hydrants for gravity flow, which would allow water to simply run out of the hydrants and into portable tanks or tanker trucks. He stressed that the fire fighters don’t want to do anything that could possibly harm the water system’s lines.
“It was our understanding that those lines were not designed for it (pumping). With the soft-suction hoses like they use to flush hydrants, we were hoping we could use those,” Carrico said. “We would  never do anything that would put the system in jeopardy.”
Carrico said an auditor from the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) will be coming to Washington County later this year. No date has been set for the visit at this time, but it will involve an evaluation of the county’s fire protection, according to Mike Rundell, a field representative with ISO working with local fire department officials.
Carrico said since direct pumping from the hydrants is not an option,  what the department could use is a map featuring the location of fire hydrants, as well as possibly a map that would feature the size of lines to those hydrants. That information would be presented to the ISO auditor later this year.
Dwight Wright, chairman of the SWSC board, said he had no problem issuing such a letter, and after discussion, it was  decided that the letter sent out in 2006, but addressed to the Washington County Fire Protection Association, would be appropriate. In the meantime, Wright said as soon as something could be determined on the requested map, contact would be made with the fire protection association.
The fire committee working between the WCFPA and the Washington County Fiscal Court is scheduled to meet next on Thursday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Springfield City Hall.