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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 2, 2019 11:51 AM
From: Representative Cris Dush
To: All House members
Subject: Installation of "Dry Hydrants" when no fire hydrants are in proximity
In rural and suburban areas there are often residences and businesses which have higher insurance costs because there are no fire hydrants in proximity. In many such areas local firemen must climb down stream banks, often in full gear and in inclement weather, to deploy a hose to draw water from the stream or river. This can be dangerous, especially in extreme weather conditions.

The Commonwealth has been conducting a massive effort to replace our structurally deficient bridges which run across streams and rivers. These streams may be a ready supply of water for firemen through what is termed a “dry hydrant”. A dry hydrant is a fire hydrant which has one end in a body of water and has no pressure in the line. The pipe runs from a submerged position in the water to a position along the side of the road where a standard firehose fitting is mounted.

Fire companies can simply pull up next to the dry hydrant and connect to it to draw water into a tanker or run hose to a pumper truck and have water pushed to the fire fighters.

These hydrants can reduce insurance costs to residents in the immediate area and reduce the likelihood of injuries to firefighters who would otherwise have to get hoses out in the middle of flowing water.

Therefore, I will be introducing legislation to require PennDOT to incorporate into the design and construction of all new and replacement bridges and box culverts a dry hydrant when it is determined there are no hydrants within the distance the Fire Commissioner and generally accepted insurance actuaries determine the risk increases liability to property owners. Another factor in consideration in consultation with DCNR in their normal design reviews would be whether the water flow would typically support the withdrawal of the necessary water for the short period necessary to fight a fire.