According to Survey, 105 Say “Yes” and Four, “No”—One-Half of Those Reporting Already Have a Voice in Purchasing Hydrants

THROUGH the generous cooperation of 179 Chiefs, who answered a questionnaire relative to the practices in purchasing fire hydrants in their respective cities, the following information is made available to the readers of this journal.

The 179 Fire Chiefs reporting represented cities of all sizes, having a total population of 10,958,500. In service in these cities are 190,052 hydrants, an average of 17.34 hydrants per thousand population.

The number of different makes of hydrants used in these cities totals thirtyeight, some of which are no longer in production.

Who Purchases (he Hydrants

Figures submitted show that purchase of fire hydrants in 176 cities (three not reporting who purchased hydrants), is delegated to a wide variety of officials. In twenty of the cities, the private water company purchases the hydrants. Where the plant is municipally owned, purchase is made by the following agencies and individuals, the figure indicating the number of cities in which hydrants are purchased by the department or individual indicated: Water Superintendent, 54; Water Commissioner or Water Commission, 15; Purchasing Agent, 14; City Manager, 13; Fire Chief, 11; City engineer, 9; Commissioner of Public Works, 5; Director of Public Works, 4; Water Department, 4; Water Board, 3; City Council, 5; Safety Director, 3; Public Service Department, 2; Board of Public Safety, 2; Commissioner of Public Property, 2; Supply Commission, 2; Board of Fire Commissioners, 2; Board of Burgesses, 1; City Commissioner, 1; Commissioner of Streets, 1; Water District, 1; Board of Control, 1; Street Department, 1.

Of the 176 answering the question as to what voice the Fire Chief had in the purchase of fire hydrants, 88 responded that his advice was asked when new hydrants were to be purchased; 88 answered that their advice was not requested, nor had they any participation in the purchase of hydrants.

As to whether or not the Fire Chief should he consulted before the purchase of hydrants is made, 165 expressed the opinion that the Chief should be called in, while four felt that the work would be ably done by the Water Department or other agencies, and therefore their advice was not needed.

From the foregoing, it will be noticed that at the present time the Fire Chief in a few of the cities actually buys the hydrants. In one-half of the cities reporting. his advice is asked, prior to purchase of hydrants, while in the other half of cases where hydrants are to be purchased, his opinion is not asked, nor is his experience with hydrants sought, prior to selection of the hydrant by other city departments or city officials.

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