The Redway Community Services District has approved a memorandum of understanding with the Redway Fire District to collaborate on upcoming tests of more than 50 fire hydrants. The two districts are talking about sharing the costs of this project - which RCSD personnel estimated to cost their side just a few thousand dollars, including material and staff time. The data collected, however, may help local property owners lower their insurance costs if the ISO, or Insurance Service Office, lowers their rating for the Redway Fire District.
"ISO is an organization that goes around nationwide and conducts an audit of the fire services provided by the districts and city departments. They have a rating system of 1-10, one being the best department possible, and 10 being no fire department. After they’ve assessed your pumping operation, your training, your ladders, your pre-planning, the hydrant testing, they assign a rating number to your district. That rating is used by insurance company when they assign your rates," said Redway fire district chief Brian Anderson.
"If you have a really good fire department, you pay a lower fire insurance premium than an area that does not have a fire department. It’s funny - most folks don’t realize how much the fire department plays into how much they pay for fire insurance," Anderson said.
One concern raised by RCSD operations manager Ken Dean during the November board meeting of that district was the possibility of equipment failure during the test - potentially involving massive spillage of chlorinated water into storm drains that lead into the Eel. If that should happen during these tests, both districts will have personnel onsite to address the problem. Chief Anderson feels it’s better to have something like that happen during a test, rather than during a crisis.
"There are valves in place underground, that we can use to shut the hydrant off, then at that point we call in the water district and they take care of it," Anderson said. "That’s one of the reasons why we wanted to do a joint collaboration with RCSD in this venture."
Testing will begin in January of 2013 with hydrants on Eel River Lane, Forest Lane, and Oakridge. A monthly testing schedule will be developed by the RCSD, and personnel from the Redway Fire district will reportedly notify affected residents with a door-hanger prior to the test date.