Valdosta fire fighters test 3,000 hydrants - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta fire fighters test 3,000 hydrants

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By Robin Jedlicka - bio | email

January 15, 2009

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

We see them every day--in yards, on streets.  Fire hydrants are such a regular part of our city's landscape, we don't often think about the meticulous maintenance that goes into them.

"The Valdosta Fire Department has worked very hard to maintain our water supply program, and we will continue to improve it," says Battalion Chief Jerry Smith.

Valdosta has nearly 3,000 fire hydrants. Twice a year, the city's fire fighters work hard to inspect each one. "We have to service the hydrants twice a year because of ISO--to maintain our rating. But also, that does other things. We have to check the hydrants to make sure that there's no blockage in those hydrants--there's no leaks," explains Chief Smith.

This ISO rating comes from the Insurance Services Office. Valdosta's current rating is a 2, which is the second highest in the state of Georgia. Due to the amount of annexation occurring in Valdosta, questions have been raised as to whether or not the city is adding enough hydrants to keep up. The answer is yes.

"Oh yes, the city is in an on-going process right now," says Chief Smith.  "We have some annexation areas that we, right now, are working on putting some hydrants in, and the fire flow to better serve the people of Valdosta."

Each hydrant is given a thorough inspection to see how much water fire fighters can access from each in case of emergency.  Sergeant Tyler Shoemake adds, "You've got several things to worry about. The last thing you want to worry about is if water comes out of that hydrant when you turn it on."

Firefighters say the testing gives them the edge of confidence necessary to successfully battle blazes.

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