|For Immediate Release
Contact: John Miller 434.220.9023
|January 5, 2012
Water is a precious commodity to firefighters, who know how to make a little go a long way. Water to fight wildfires or structural fires initially comes from fire department tankers or sidewalk fire hydrants, but additional sources are often needed to sustain operations. Firefighters in rural areas use “dry fire hydrants” to make use of local water sources. The Department of Fire Programs (VDFP) and the Department of Forestry (VDOF) work together to make sure firefighters have access to this community resource.
Though it sounds like a contradiction in terms, dry fire hydrants are a real and valuable tool for firefighters. A dry fire hydrant is a non-pressurized pipe system permanently installed in existing lakes, ponds and streams that provides a suction supply of water to a fire department truck. These vehicles attach hoses to a dry fire hydrant and pump water out for use at a fire.
Communities can apply now for grant funding from VDOF to add a dry fire hydrant to their area. Last year, more than 30 applications were approved; 20 counties will have a dry fire hydrant installed or repaired under the program. The number of grant requests far exceeds the number that can be approved with the available funding.
“The dry fire hydrant provides a more reliable connection between fire department equipment and a body of water,” said John Miller, VDOF director of resource protection. “The location of these dry fire hydrants undoubtedly reduces travel time, which in turn provides firefighters with a better chance to save more lives and property.”
Virginia’s Dry Fire Hydrant Grant Program is funded by the General Assembly through the Virginia Fire Programs Fund. VDOF administers the annual program’s $100,000 allocation, ensuring 100-percent of it goes into the installation or repair of hydrants. To date, the program has provided 1,568 dry fire hydrants to communities across the Commonwealth. Virginia’s first dry fire hydrant was installed at the Atlantic Fire Department in Accomack County in 1988.
The Dry Fire Hydrant Grant Program application deadline is March 31. For more information on Dry Fire Hydrants, visit www.dof.virginia.gov/fire/dry-hydrant.htm
The Virginia Department of Forestry protects and develops healthy, sustainable forest resources for Virginians. Headquartered in Charlottesville, the Agency has forestry staff members assigned to every county to provide citizen service and public safety protection across the Commonwealth. VDOF is an equal opportunity provider.
With nearly 16 million acres of forestland and more than 144,000 Virginians employed in forestry, forest products and related industries, Virginia forests provide more than $27.5 Billion annually in benefits to the Commonwealth.