The City of Martin Fire/Rescue/EMS will be inspecting the city’s fire hydrants over the next several months.
Fire Chief Jamie Summers says crews will be out Monday through Friday from 7:00 to 5:00 and Saturday and Sunday as needed until all 875 hydrants are inspected.
The inspection involves removing all caps and lubricating the threads, flowing water to ensure that each hydrant is operating properly, painting and color coding, placing reflective bands for visibility and gathering GPS information.
According to Chief Summers, all fire hydrants in the community are known as dry barrel hydrants, meaning that there is no water in the barrel of the hydrant until the hydrant is opened.
Dry barrel hydrants help ensure that the hydrants will not freeze in cold weather and will therefore be available when needed for a fire.
After every use and inspection, the hydrants are closed and the water drains out. Hydrants that do not drain properly, or with other problems, are reported to the City of Martin Public Works for further maintenance.
Chief Summers says the annual testing is essential to maintain the community’s Class 4 Insurance Services Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification, and to ensure that hydrants are operating efficiently for fire protection purposes.
Along with maintaining the fire rating, the testing monitors the health of the city’s water system, identifies weak areas in the system, removes materials that settle in the hydrant, and cleans out the lines.
Checking each hydrant improves crew knowledge of hydrant locations.
Fire department personnel will check to make sure there is adequate clearance around all fire hydrants, and property owners should clear weeds and brush from blocked hydrants to aid in their easy identification and access. The fire code requires at least 36 inches of clear area around the hydrant for proper access and helps assure that the hydrant is visible from the road.
During hydrant inspections, residents might experience temporarily low water pressure or discolored (rusty) water. The discoloration of water will not harm an individual, although it may stain light colored clothing. The fire department advises that you run your faucets until you have clean water. Do not run your hot water or do laundry until your water is clear.
If you have any questions or should you at any time notice a hydrant in need of repair, please contact the fire department at 587-4919.
Chief Summers says that also during this time, residents will see crews out updating building information for the pre-incident planning. Fire crews will be measuring building and taking pictures.
The information is vital to fire operations as it allows personnel to view critical information during an incident.