How fire crews prepare for malfunctioning fire hydrants

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Reported by: Lynn Casey
Updated: 1/01 8:56 pm Published: 1/01 8:47 pm

We first told you about a fire in Sand Springs as breaking news Monday night. Nobody was hurt, but firefighters faced another challenge. The fire hydrant near the burning house wasn’t working properly.

“They initially hooked up to that hydrant; figured out we weren’t going to get adequate flow out of it,” said Sand Springs Fire Chief Mike Wood.

That kept crews from fighting the fire on Franklin Avenue as quickly as possible Monday  night. They had to backtrack and find another hydrant a block away.

“Obviously that’s not an ideal situation. Most of the time we find those hydrants on our annual checks,” says Chief Wood.

The fire department tests all 1,200 of its hydrants around the city and outlying areas every year. The public works department fixes the ones that don't work.

“You can have ground shifts, and have water main breaks, valves that get stuck. There’s just a multitude of things that can go wrong. If they’re not draining well they’ll actually freeze up,” said Chief Wood.

It's not very common for them to find one that stopped working between inspections. But just in case, they always know where the next closest hydrant is. And crews are always armed with a backup.

“We’re showing up with 1,400 gallons of water. So we can make a pretty good initial attack without even having a fire hydrant. In a lot of cases we will only use tank water. We don’t even hook to a hydrant,” said Chief Wood.

Those cases include fires in rural areas. Nearby volunteer departments bring out extra tankers so they know they'll have enough water.

The Chief says problems like the one they faced Monday night with the hydrant only happen about five to ten percent of the time in Sand Springs. 

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 1/1/2014 11:25 PM
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Urban renewal one house at a time. Really Sand Springs is a quaint little river town with numerous enriching individuals who can clue you into a thing or two if you just stop ask questions and pay attention. One of my old time friends introduced me to his boss Mr Parker. A fine older gentleman with tolerance and value. G'night Mr Parker.
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