Dozens of fire departments statewide will soon have a new tool for fighting fires. The state is putting 200-thousand dollars toward the installation of 95 special water valves known as “dry hydrants.” Rusty Hockman, president of the Iowa Firemen’s Association, says dry hydrants are a non-pressurized pipe system permanently installed in existing lakes, ponds and streams that can provide a ready means of suction-supplied water to a fire tanker truck. Installation of the dry hydrants will begin in the spring. The 95 hydrants will serve 110 fire departments in 51 Iowa counties. They’ll be of most benefit to rural areas, but he says cities can use them too in some cases. Hockman, who’s a volunteer fireman in the Hamilton County town of Jewell, says dry hydrants can mean the difference between life and death — and between saving a property and it being a total loss. Using the six-inch pipe of a dry hydrant system, Hockman says a 12-hundred gallon tanker truck can be filled in just a few minutes.
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