SANATOGA PA – Trying to find fire hydrants when they are buried in snow drifts can be difficult. Hunting for a snow-obscured hydrant when a building fire is raging nearby can be panic-inducing. So is it possible, former Lower Pottsgrove politician Tony Doyle asked the Board of Commissioners last week, to mark hydrants within the township to be easily located?
Anything’s possible, board President Bruce Foltz replied, but taxpayers may want to consider the cost, he added.
Doyle, a former commissioner himself whose earlier criticisms of township snow removal efforts during January’s winter storm Jonas were widely circulated, advocated the use of hydrant markers during the board’s Feb. 1 meeting. Although they made no commitments, commissioners agreed markers could be useful if the township or its two fire companies – Sanatoga and Ringing Hill – opted to afford them.
Lower Pottsgrove has more than 4,600 housing units, according to the federal 2010 Census. Commissioners did not specify how many hydrants serve those dwellings, but Foltz indicated equipping all of them with markers could cost thousands of dollars.
Firefighting experts claim the most easily spotted and durable markers are whip-like fiberglass antennas that attach to hydrants with a bolt-on spring mount. The flexibility of the spring and the antenna’s composition allows it to endure extreme weather and remain upright for fast identification.
The antennas themselves range from 5 to 7 feet in height, and are available in a variety of colors and mount sizes. They reportedly need little or no maintenance, and are designed for quick removal in emergency needs. Their average price: depending on the variables and the vendor, between $40 and $60 each.
The township fire code, last updated during 2009, includes a provision (Section 114.1) that makes it “unlawful to obscure from view, damage, deface, obstruct or restrict the access to any fire hydrant or any fire department connection for the pressurization of fire-suppression systems, including fire hydrants and fire department connections located on public or private streets and access lanes or on private lanes.”
Volunteers in both fire companies regularly implore home owners to clear snow away from any hydrants near their properties. “Remember, if you have a hydrant near your house, seconds count,” the Ringing Hill Fire Company said in a recent Facebook post.
Township Commissioners Meet Feb. 18
Commissioners are next scheduled to meet Feb. 18 (2016; Thursday) at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd. The meeting is free to attend and open to the public.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Feb. 1 meeting):
- Marking Fire Hydrants Suggested To Board
- What’s Inside Public Works Box? Another Box!
- When Weather’s Bad, The Bad Aren’t Stirring
- Commissioners Delay Assessment Appeal OK
- Added 422 Work Held Hostage In Budget Fight
- Police Officer Suffers Concussion In Fall
- Township Seeks Nuclear Assistance Grant
- She Smiled While Saying, ‘Tax Bills Ready’
- Executive Session Covers Personnel Issue
- Township Admits ‘Problems’ Removing Snow
Photo from Google Images
Hydrant graphic from the Ringing Hill Fire Company via Facebook