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Improving fire protection in Hutto

Hutto Fire Rescue to begin 2012 hydrant water flow testing

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 10:02 am

Hutto Fire Rescue and the City of Hutto, along with Jonah Water and Manville Water, are working together in a comprehensive project to improve fire protection in Hutto and the greater Hutto Fire Rescue service area.

This is the second year for flow testing, which includes a number of initiatives beyond just ensuring water supply and delivery is up to par.

“By conducting these flow tests it also allows the fire department to make sure that the fire hydrants are working properly,” Hutto Fire Rescue Chief Scott Kerwood said.

The fire safety improvement project includes numerous steps, according to Kerwood, but flow testing of area hydrants will be the most visible part of the process for citizens.

Beginning this month, fire officials will begin testing hydrants in Hutto neighborhoods.

Firefighters will clear all shrubs or other obstructions that are within a three-foot radius of a fire hydrant to ensure proper emergency access if a situation arises, Kerwood said.

Flow testing itself, he said, will result in a volume of water being released from each hydrant as it is tested.

“We ask citizens to please be careful as they drive by the firefighters conducting these flow tests,” Kerwood said. “We do not want them to be injured since they will be in the street. Nor do we want your vehicle to become damaged due to the flowing water.”

The flow testing also may disturb sediment in the water lines leading to discolored water. The department reports that during the time that flow testing will be occurring, people should expect that for a period of at least 24 hours they could see a slight discoloration of the water that comes from faucets and washing machines.

Hutto Fire and Rescues asks residents and businesses to refrain, if possible, from washing anything such as clothes that may stain from discolored water during this testing time. Kerwood said despite discoloration, the water will be safe to drink.

The fire hydrant flow testing program is important for a number of reasons, according to the Hutto fire department. The data collected will give firefighters invaluable information in the case of an emergency and will help the department as it works to reduce the Insurance Service Office (ISO) Public Protection Class (PPC) rating. This rating is what determines fire insurance rates and any reduction in it will result in lower insurance rates for residents and businesses, Kerwood said. The work also will provide information useful for economic development within the city.

The map shows which residential and commercial areas will be flow tested and the dates it will occur. The time for all of this flow testing will be between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“If you see the fire department out in your neighborhood checking your fire hydrants, stop and visit with them and get to know them,” Kerwood said. “Bring the kids by and let them see the fire trucks up close and personal before the need arises for them in an emergency.”

For more information, contact Hutto Fire Rescue at (512) 759-2616.

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