Former fire chief throws cold water on hydrant flushing policy

Result of ignorance could have dire consequences

To the Expositor:

As a former fire chief and member of the Little Current Fire Department (for over 26 years), I am shocked that fire hydrant maintenance was being performed during the coldest days of the year in Little Current.

On December 28 I witnessed a contract employee steaming the hydrant in front of my home on Robinson Street. More to my amazement the process took 44 minutes to free the hydrant of ice; it was frozen solid. The hydrant at the end of Cherry Lane, a connecting street, took in excess of 30 minutes to complete a similar task.

The disturbing fact is that had a fire occurred in recent days, no water would have been available for the firefighters and I would assume this would have been the situation throughout the town?

All fire hydrants have a bottom drain valve, however in Little Current many do not function as the hydrants are installed on flat rock and drains do not open.

The process of steaming the hydrants to free them of ice is useless unless the water is immediately pumped from the hydrant and anti-freeze added to complete the protection.

At no time did I see any water being pumped nor anti-freeze added to the two hydrants I watched being steamed. After steaming, the workman drove off to next hydrant.

The hydrants should be drained in October and anti-freeze added to negate the costly process of steaming and to ensure they are ready for winter use. This was a process that was carried out as part of fire department duties for years; expensive contractors were not employed.

Apparently our council and administration have little understanding as to the importance of all fire hydrants being in full working order at all times to insure the safety of our citizens and the protection of their property. This neglectful act could have serious consequences.

Respectfully submitted,

James Bousquet

Little Current