January 9, 2007
Today I was privileged to visit with the Goldman Fire Department Chief Gary Peters and a fireman by the name of Paul. The purpose of the visit was to tour South Lakeshore Drive to find suitable locations for the installation of dry fire hydrants. North Lakeshore Drive currently has a dry hydrant located at the dam and on the seawall at Matt Holloran's home (M32). These two, in addition to the hydrant located at the beach area, serves the north side well. On the south side, the hydrant located at F1 has never been operable which only leaves the beach hydrant as a water source.
Our first discussion involved the beach dry hydrant which is no longer operable. Chief Peters suspects either the elbow is broken or, possibly when re-setting the vertical piping. The existing pipes were not glued well enough. The area surrounding the pipe needs to be dug out, piping checked and/or replaced and re-glued and then re-installed. He also mentioned that rock needs to be added to the ground (currently mud) all around the hydrant so that the fire trucks can properly access the standing connection. Regular PVC piping can be used, it is not necessary to have special piping. (NOTE I do believe there is a grade of "80" that is recommended.)
We discussed adding horizontal lengths, with the supporting brackets, to both the beach hydrant and the North-side dam hydrant. Both spots were out of the water this past year. He recommended this project only if the pipes become totally exposed again this year. Supporting brackets consist of basically a piece of re-bar and a curved support for the horizontal piping. This would avoid the piping from falling into the muck at the bottom of the lake.
While the fire department have never run out of water here at the lake while fighting a fire, additional hydrants would be beneficial to us all. More homes within 1000 feet of a hydrant would mean dollar savings in insurance for those properties, and more importantly, less travel time for the tankers. Note: The fire at the Farwig's was so engulfed time the department arrived that additional hydrants would not have enabled the firefighters to save the home.
When asked to rank future locations, Chief Peters thought that the driveway at G-36 would be a good spot. We drove all the way to the water on this drive. He pointed out where the connecting vertical pipe could be placed and suggested where the horizontal pipe could be directed. The hydrant would extend about 2 feet above the seawall. A couple of cedar trees would have to come out, or be trimmed back, in order for the trucks to get in and out of the drive.
NOTE: I have tried to contact the owners of G-36, Edward & Ruth Granroth, and their phone is not a working number. I have searched for another phone number for these folks and have been unable to locate a number.
It was interesting for me to learn that one truck would drive down the drive to the hydrant and draft the water. That water then would be pumped into another truck up on the road. The first truck would never leave, the tanker trucks would always receive their water from the drafting truck. They would shuttle back and forth to the fire location.
The Chief's second wish would be to repair the existing dry hydrant at E-17/F-1. His suggestion is to dig along side the current pipe and install new pipe but hook onto the existing vertical pipe (the connector) and the existing horizontal pipe which is attached to the strainer. The backfill needs to be pea gravel or sand or a mixture of the two. Apparently during the installation of the existing hydrant, big rock was used in the backfill and the piping was cracked when run over during the process.
After the installation, the fire department could actually draft water to the truck (they could actually see the water through a clear portion of the hose) but when water was to transfer to the tanker they would loose their prime due to air entering through a crack in the pipe. There was an attempt to rectify the problem, but that failed.
Trying to locate any spots closer to the dam is futile due to the steepness of the terrain. Just as at the G-36 location, a good driveway would need to be in place in order to install a hydrant. In the future, if it is felt that another site is necessary, a driveway installation might be desirable. At this time, it appears that all homes have an asphalt or concrete drive. Chief Peters wishes to stay away from using an asphalt drive.
While discussing any availability of grants for dry hydrants, Chief did mention the Farm Bureau. This is area that I will research more fully.
On Monday, I spoke with the Assistant State Fire Marshall, Mr. Greg Carroll. The State Tax Credit Program that I spoke of last year (and provided some paperwork to read) has expired. He has been in discussion with the State Representative from Calloway County who wants to introduce a bill to the Missouri State Legislature this session to re-instate this program. (This program would allow a tax credit on state income taxes for the installation of dry hydrants - 50% of the cost up to $5000.)
Knowing that any bill introduced and ultimately passed in both houses and signed by the Governor would not be in effect until the end of August, I asked if any installation of hydrants now would be covered by the plan retroactively. He did not know, but thought that question should be addressed.
NOTE: I have emailed the Calloway County Representative, Danielle Moore and copied in the Jefferson County Representative, Ron Casey. (copy below) Representative Moore called me (almost immediately upon receiving the email) and we had a very nice and productive conversation. She told of having the bill's language almost completed and said that the effective date (if passed/signed) would be August 28, 2007. She did not think that there would be any provision for any installations prior to that date. The only way to allow for an installation prior to that date was to include an "emergency clause" which would allow the statute to become effective prior to the end of August.
She will be meeting with several other representatives in the next couple of weeks. As a member of several important committees, she will be in contact with the Fire & Safety group among others. She asked that I call her in two weeks to see if there is a possibility that we might fit into the category for inclusion in the Tax Credit Program "retroactively" or the possibility of an emergency effective date measure.
The tour and discussions were very interesting. Chief Gary Peters is extremely knowledgeable regarding the dry fire hydrants and most anxious to help us with the repair and any new installations.
I'll type all this up and forward to you all - hopefully I'll have a bit more info to include.
I would hope, by the time the weather is warmer, we can have a plan in place to repair the existing hydrant and install an additional hydrant. I do believe this can be accomplished within the $2000 budgeted amount.