Rural fire departments are continually expected to do more with less. To combat higher expectations with shrinking public funds, rural fire departments must find investments that offer returns for both the fire department and also the local community.
Access to a reliable water supply is one the largest drivers of the ISO score–the insurance rating score provided from insurance companies. The reliability of a consistent water supply is a necessary logistical concern that every rural fire chief must ensure during fire operations. In Corrales, New Mexico, Chief Anthony Martinez states, “Living on well water does not bode well for reliable fire suppression systems. Rural areas do not have public water and major pumping stations that larger urban areas are accustomed to.”
To provide peace of mind for rural communities, rural fire departments can consider decentralized pumping stations, called Hydrant Boosters, which offer a consistent water supply to local hydrants. A reliable charged hydrant means improved water tanker refill time and the opportunity to save the entire community money from a lower ISO rating.
In Santa Rita, New Mexico, Chief Standard comments that the implementation of a stationary Hydrant Booster pump receives the equivalent ISO reduction as a Class A pumper. “The Hydrant Booster was considerably less expensive than buying a new truck for the department and will provide a faster turnaround time for our area that has little to no hydrants.”
In addition to the value added to the entire community, the Hydrant Booster includes an automatic self-testing feature, removing the man-power needed to provide constant test maintenance. “There is a green check light on the panel face. When illuminated, it means all systems are ready to go,” states Chief Martinez, “I know maintenance is an issue on this type of pumping station, but this system makes it easier on us.” The Hydrant Booster is tested twice a month, ensuring that the water pressure will be available when needed during a real live fire scenario.
After the successful installation of two Hydrant Boosters in Corrales, the hydrant booster lowered the ISO rating in the community from a Class 7 to a Class 4 rating. In Santa Rita, the ISO rating is expected to go from a Class 7 to a Class 5. These lower ISO rating will help lower insurance premiums throughout the community, allowing more funds for additional fire and safety equipment.