Fire hydrants in short supply in Carroll County

Finding a reliable water source

CARROLL COUNTY, Md. -

A firefighters greatest resource to fight fires is water, but in some parts of the state, access to fire hydrants is limited.

 

Carroll County firefighters and county commissioners have a plan to keep the water flowing.

 

Firefighters generally don't have a lot of time to spare when it comes to responding to a fire and saving lives. Wasting time searching for a source of water that could be miles away could be dangerous when every minute counts.

 

For firefighters in Carroll County, a fire hydrant is often few and far between, while a fire tanker's supply also is limited.

 

Carroll County Commissioner Stephen Wantz said "at o’ dark thirty, when you know that you’re pulling up to the scene of an incident, the last thing you want to do is ‘OK, so where is the water coming from?’"

 

Volunteer fire chiefs and county commissioners recognize finding a natural source of water might be out of sight as well, especially if the only thing available is dry land.

 

Carroll County Dept. of Public Safety director Scott Campbell said "through a joint effort we realize that there are some parts of this county where the only way to ensure a reliable, year round  accessible efficient water supply is to do something, I like the term man made."

 

It comes in the form of a 30,000 gallon underground water storage tank proposed for a spot on land donated by a private school.

 

"This north central part of the county was identified as a need, this site became available because if the cooperative effort between the Pleasant Valley Fire Department and the North Carroll Community School, and it’s just a win win for everybody," Campbell said.

 

Pleasant Valley Fire Community Company public information officer Charles Simpson said "in a county that’s mostly non-hydrant, we generally don’t have municipal water systems throughout the county  these regional tanks become major supply points."

 

At a cost of about $120,000, the proposed storage tank isn't the first in Carroll County, and isn't expected to be the last.

 

"We know that this is a critical tool in our tool box when we pull up to the scene of an incident we don’t have to think twice about where is that resource going to come from," Wantz said.

 

The money to pay for the tank and the installation comes out of the general fund with monies that are set aside for public safety.

 

Commissioners will vote on whether to spend that money on the tank on Thursday, June 14th.

 

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