During the last nine years the Seneca Trail Resource Conservation and Development Council has been involved with the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to assist fire departments improve their ability to respond to fire calls. Through a generous grant obtained through the late Senator Jess Present, the Seneca Trail RC&D Council was able to purchase, distribute and install over 150 non-pressurized, or “dry” hydrants in four of the Seneca Trail RC&D area counties. One of these dry hydrants was used extensively to fight the 3-alarm fire at the Good Morning Farm in Bemus Point, Chautauqua County. Although the fire fighters were not able to save the main building, they do credit the availability of water from the dry hydrant for preventing the spread of the fire to the other nearby buildings. A total loss of the buildings would have put the Good Morning Farm out of business. Examples like this one are common over the last nine years as the rural fire departments rely on these hydrants to access critical water supplies.
|There is a serious need to develop a maintenance program to insure the proper function of these important fire protection resources. There have been many occasions where these hydrants have become damaged or otherwise non-functional. When a fire company responds to an emergency, they need to be certain that the nearest dry hydrant is in working condition, otherwise valuable time could be lost in searching for an alternative water supply. It is our goal to have each of these dry hydrants pressure checked annually to determine the need for repair, replacement or removal.|
||The initiative involved contracting the services of the local Soil and Water Conservation Districts in Allegany, Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties to inventory and repair the “dry” hydrants within each county. The Soil and Water Conservation Districts were chosen to do the work as it was the Districts that designed and assisted in the installation of each of the hydrants. As there are nearly 300 hydrants installed across the area, this could be a daunting and expensive task. The initiative is to reimburse the Districts for their time and provide the necessary supplies needed to effect repairs on the hydrants that are no longer functioning.|
|The Council has shown through the installation of the more than 300 hydrants that rural fire protection is important to the Council members and to the communities that we serve. We would like to continue to serve our rural constituents with these important security options.|