11:22 PM EDT, August 5, 2012
ROCKY MOUNT, Va.
When it comes to fighting fires, you need water and lots of it. That's why the town of Rocky Mount is testing its hydrants.
Brenda Campbell has lived in this Rocky Mount home for more than three decades. The thought of a house fire concerns her. "I'd hate to lose my kids' pictures and I'd hate to lose important papers," she said. The fire hydrant in front of her home has a plastic bag over because it has low pressure.
Campbell's is one of nine that wouldn't measure up in a fire. It pumps out only about 300 gallons a minute.
One in normal working condition should pump out nearly 1,300 gallons a minute. That's nearly three times the amount needed to successfully battle a fire.
The water department in Rocky Mount conducts routine inspections every five years.
"We bag these hydrants so that the fire department does not show up to fight a fire and presume they're gonna have enough water out of these hydrants," said Robert Deitrich, Water Plant Supervisor.
Crews use a meter to check the flow rate. Their findings will be used along with information from an engineering firm, to figure out what improvements need to be made to make sure all hydrants are working properly.
"Whether we need to look at a problem area in existing lines, run a new water line from a different direction to improve flow and pressure in this area, we're definitely working toward that," Deitrich explains.
The report should be ready in a week or two.
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