Scores of Detroit fire hydrants went dry this winter; frozen from the weather or just beaten down by lack of maintenance and overuse. The dangerous conditions mean firefighters sometimes show up to a scene and waste precious minutes finding water, the life-saving tool that allows them to do their jobs.
City officials say they are working on the problem and promise that within a few months residents will see a difference.
Gary Brown, the city of Detroit’s COO, says he has some personal experience with this problem. He was in a meeting with the water department when he complained about a hydrant across the street from his house that had the yellow ring around it that denotes it being out of water. He says that once a problem is known though, it can be fixed quite rapidly.
“Before I even got home from work my wife was calling me, telling me that that fire hydrant had been replaced,” says Brown. “And it took less than two hours to do it.”
The city’s plan to fix the hydrants is going to prioritize areas of dense populations or where there are apartment complexes or businesses that are reliant on a hydrant that needs repair according to Brown. He also says the process for determining what hydrants need to be fixed is getting completely redone. It will no longer be a paper process, instead there will be a software solution and when the new process rolls out in May citizens will be able to take a photograph of a problem hydrant with their phone and send it directly DWSD.
“Now we have the money, we have a process in place and we’re going to get the fire hydrants fixed,” says Brown.
Brown also says that the equipment problem for the Fire Department across the board are getting better, and the response times are getting shorter. There is also money for repairing Fire Houses in the Plan of Adjustment according to Brown.