WHAT FIRE AND WATER OFFICIALS SHOULD WORK TOGETHER ON
Proper lnstallation and Repair of Hydrants and Valves—Justice of Hydrant Rental Charge— Two Departments Closely Allied in Work
THE proper location of valves and hydrants is a matter of vital concern to the water works department, but, especially in the case of hydrants, it is equally the concern of the fire chief. The same thing applies to the care and maintenance of these important adjuncts to the city’s safety. Mr. Hooper properly argues that, in the matter of location it is important that the fire chief be consulted by the water works superintendent.
There is no utility more necessary in the building up of a community than an adequate water supply and there is no utility so little understood by the public.
If Mr. Citizen could only realize the amount of thought and labor entailed to permit him to obtain a sufficient supply of water at the faucets in his home or place of business, then and only then would he realize the importance of an efficient water works department.
Justice of Hydrant Rental Charge
One of the chief duties of the water works superintendent is to lay out the distribution system so that in addition to requirements for domestic consumption the size of mains shall be ample for the use of the fire department. Criticism is often levelled at a water works system for charging a hydrant rental to the fire department and yet if you stop-to consider this matter taking into account the maintenance costs of hydrants and valves the necessity of larger mains than would be required for domestic use, it can readily be understood that the rental basis is fair and equitable.
Installation and Repair of Valves
The ideal way to install valves would be in chambers so that minor repairs could be made at a minimum of costs. The very heavy increase in the cost of construction would makes this scheme almost prohibitive particularly where the mains are laid at a depth of say eight feet, so we keep on installing valves and burying them. In the course of a few years when it is necessary to use the valve in question a leak starts from a worn gasket or a broken bolt and the work which the valve was designed to perform is lost and necessitates going still further to operate a valve which will hold.
It can readily be understood how important it is that valves should be in such repair as to perform the work intended when so required. Take for example a case where the fire brigade are fighting a bad fire and the main breaks in the immediate vicinity. It should be possible to cut off the small section concerned while the firemen are disconnecting and reconnecting their hose lines on other hydrants in the vicinity. The question may be asked here as to whose duty it would be in such a case to operate the valve. I have recently recommended to the city council the advisability of installing an alarm at the water works yards office when it will be the duty of the emergency turnkey outfit to respond to all general alarms, to look after such duties as above outlined and further to repack hydrants in the cold weather immediately after use so that if the fire breaks out a second time, the hydrants will be in commission. If this were done a regular turnkey outfit would be called out to take the place of the emergency during such time as the emergency turnkey outfit was engaged at the fire.
Co-operation Between Fire and Water Departments
There can be no question that the fire and water departments are very closely allied in their daily work. The water department supplies the water, and hydrants, with which the firemen are enabled to combat the outbreak of fire, and such being the case it is necessary that these two departments should work in unison. I believe it to be a good policy that the chief of the fire department should be taken into consultation in the location, size and number of hydrants installed in any district, for the reason that the average superintendent would establish his locations at regular intervals while the fire chief would look at it more from the standpoint of service in fire fighting.
Improvements at Galesburg, I11.
Commenting on the improvements made in the water system of Galesburg, I11., the committee on fire prevention and engineering standards of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, says in its report:
“The new deep well at the main pumping station has been equipped with a 3-stage, 2,000,000-gallon, American Well Works Company deep well pump, driven by a 100-hp. 2,200volt motor, which is operated almost continuously, the equipment at Bradley Wells Nos. 1 and 2 being put into service about once a week for a few hours. At the main pumping station a Fairbanks-Morse 864,000-gallon centrifugal pump, direct-connected to a 4-cylinder Van Blerck gasoline engine and an American Well Works Co. 2,160,000gallon centrifugal pump direct connected to a 4-cylinder Van Blerck gasoline engine were installed in 1921. The two electrically operated centrifugal pumps installed in 1919 are ordinarily used to supply domestic consumption, two being operated during the day and one at night. The gasoline engine-driven pumps are started three times during each 24 hours and would be used to supplement the supply available from the electric motor-driven pumps in case of fire. If the fire demand were in excess of the capacity of these four pumps, the two Bradley well equipments would be put into operation. The boilers and steam pumps are held in reserve. All steam equipment was tested in November, 1922, and it could be put into service in from two to four hours.
“In case of failure of the transmission line serving the electrically-operated pumps and the main station, a reserve steam-dTiven generator could be started and develop enough power to run the deep well and two electric motor-driven pumps. It is proposed to place the meter which is now set in the discharge line of the Snow pump on the 16-inch line, through which the electric motor and gasoline enginedriven pumps discharge, so that an accurate record of consumption may be kept. During the past year it is estimated that the average daily consumption has been 1,250,000 gallons. Pressures have been increased, and a pressure of 45 pounds is maintained at the recording gage in the city hall office.
“About 25 miles of pipe, mainly 6 inches, has been laid in the last three years, 15 miles of which was laid during 1922. In main a sufficient number of gate valves have been installed on the recently laid lines, but the 16-inch valves on the 16-inch main extending from the main pumping station have not been repaired, and in their present condition are inoperative. One hundred and twelve additional hydrants have been installed, making a total of 573 in service. In order to determine the quantity of water now available for engine supply the flow from two hydrants in the Public Square was measured. The results indicated that 3,200 gallons a minute would be available for steamer supply with the electric motor and gasoline engine-driven pumps in operation at the main station and the Bradley wells in service.”