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Dry Hydrants Help Fight Rural Fires
By installing “dry fire hydrants” in area ponds, rural fire departments don’t have to rely solely on tanker trucks. Area homes may even qualify for fire insurance discounts.
  “Over the past 22 years, our local Lions Club has installed 9 dry fire hydrants in the area,” says Scott Marbach, Decatur, Ind. “They were located so the local fire department would never be more than 2 miles from a dry hydrant.”
  Dry fire hydrants refer to a non-pressurized pipe system with one end in water and the other extending to dry land, where a pumper truck can access it. Marbach shared plans for dry fire hydrants with FARM SHOW and encourages readers to install them in their communities.
  Any pond equipped with the system will serve as a back-up water source. It will eliminate having to shuttle water from more distant sources.
  While dry fire hydrants can be installed in existing ponds, Marbach explains that they are easier to install in a new pond before it has been filled.
  The dry fire hydrant consists of sections of 6-in. dia. schedule 40, pvc pipe. A 36-in. long strainer section capped on one end is suspended at least 3 ft. above the pond bottom and at least 3 ft. below the pond surface. Water flows through the holes in the strainer to sections of pvc pipe laid in a trench in the bank of the pond at a depth below local frost depths. Once beyond the pond edge, a right angle elbow directs the water up and through an insulated double pipe to a second elbow. It is equipped with a reducer sized to match the local fire department’s fire hoses.
  “The upright 6-in. section is inside a 10-in. dia. section with 2 in. of spray foam in between,” says Marbach. “Our fire department has pumped water from these dry hydrants when the temperature has been a negative 10 degrees with no problem.”
  While Marbach is willing to advise people wanting to install a dry fire hydrant, he suggests doing an internet search for the term and consulting with your local fire department. A wide variety of detailed instructions are available on the internet from county, state and national sources and the USDA and NRCS. One internet source is “A Guide to Planning and Installing Dry Fire Hydrants,” published by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (www.dnr.wi.gov/topic/forestmanagement/documents/pub/fr-044.pdf).
  “Our local fire department can pump 700 to 800 gpm from our dry fire hydrants to refill their tanker truck,” says Marbach.
  He suggests contacting local insurance agents to help fund installation, as well as to obtain discounts for customers where a dry fire hydrant has been installed. Excavators and others may donate time and equipment.
  While it was a local Lions Club that supported the effort in his area, Marbach suggests working with any local service group, such as 4-H, FFA, Farm Bureau or others.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Scott Marbach, 7088 N 600E, Decatur, Ind. 46733 (scottmarbach@centurylink.net).

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2017 - Volume #41, Issue #4