Jacksonville's fire hydrant maintenance program begins - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Jacksonville's fire hydrant maintenance program begins

Released by the City of Jacksonville:

JACKSONVILLE, TX - Over the course of the next few months, the staff of the Jacksonville Fire Department will be inspecting and refurbishing each and every fire hydrant within the city limits as part of a new annual hydrant maintenance program.

Fire Chief Paul White said the city's hydrants had been receiving periodic upkeep in the past, but that this is the first time Jacksonville has established an annual maintenance plan.

"There are approximately 600 fire hydrants in the city, and starting this week we are going to be greasing the stems, taking the caps off and greasing the treads, weed-eating around the hydrants, checking to see if they work and painting the ones that need it," White said. "We are also going to be painting the bonnets with a reflective, fluorescent paint which will make the fire hydrants a lot easier to see at night."

JFD estimates it will take roughly three months to get to every hydrant in Jacksonville. For the purpose of conducting the maintenance, the city has been broken up into districts, with different work shifts being responsible for inspecting all the hydrants within their specific district.

White said the program will also allow his department to identify which of the city's existing hydrants are no longer operational. When one such fixture is located, the firefighters will be placing a white plastic lid over the steam cap, allowing them to easily identify hydrants which are not in working order.

"In the past, firemen have had to just remember which hydrants are out-of-service. In the future when we are pulling up on a fire we won't waste time laying line from a dead hydrant; we will be able to quickly identify whether we can use it or not," he said.

According to the White, the benefits of the maintenance program are mostly practical for his crews, but there is also a potential insurance benefit for the city. Hydrant maintenance is one of the things fire departments are graded on by the Insurance Services Office when they are calculating a city's Public Protection Classification.

While White said the new program is unlikely to be enough to bump Jacksonville's PPC rating down to the next level, he said little improvements like this will help the city score higher with ISO in the future.

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