You may have noticed something different on the right-of-way near your home or business, something shiny and red along the roadways as you’ve traveled rural Gordon County. In roughly three months, Georgia Hydrant Services (GHS) has worked diligently to install a total of eighty-four brand new fire hydrants for Gordon County’s Fire-Rescue Department as part of the current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) initiative underway for Gordon County.
Several improvement projects are on the list for the fire department, fire hydrants being only one. GHS was the most responsive bidder and was awarded the contract by the Gordon County Board of Commissioners to install the fire hydrants in rural Gordon County. The first fire hydrant was installed on September 3, 2013, and the project for this budget year was completed mid November. There will be more hydrants due to be installed each year for the next four years.
This round of hydrants was predominantly installed in the geographical center of Gordon County and in the Sonoraville area, due to the tremendous growth in these areas. The plan was to begin where the most homes and businesses would be affected in order to lower insurance premiums. As each year comes and the next round of hydrants is due to be installed, a different area will be targeted.
“Lieutenant Joey Jordon with our Fire Prevention Division has worked long and hard to determine exactly where to place each hydrant in order to affect the most citizens,” said Fire Chief David Hawkins. “He has worked very closely with both Georgia Hydrant Services and the city of Calhoun Utilities (Water) Department to insure that each hydrant was installed to meet all the necessary codes. I want to personally commend GHS, the Calhoun Water Department staff, and Lt. Jordon for all their hard work in getting these hydrants in place.”
Deputy Chief Byron Sutton said, “The addition of these hydrants not only means lower insurance premiums for our citizens, they also mean a positive water supply for our firefighters in the event of a fire. Having a positive water supply as opposed to shuttling water to the scene is always an advantage. The incident commander can concentrate on all the other tasks that need to be taken care of on a fire, and not have to be concerned with if and when the water will run out. Just recently, we ran out of water twice on a residential fire where no fire hydrants in the area and heavy winds were our enemies from the start. It’s just not a situation we like to find ourselves in when we are supposed to be there to help, but we can do no more than anyone else without the tools we need to do the job; water being one of those tools.”
So, what next? Chief Sutton explained, “By now, homeowners and business owners will more than likely have noticed if a new fire hydrant has been installed near their home or place of business. If not, they should click here to see the hydrant list of where these hydrants have been installed. If one has been installed near your residence or place of business, it could mean lower insurance premiums for you.”
In order to qualify for a reduction in premiums at least one of these hydrants must be within 1000 feet of the structure in question. Property owners can use the odometer on their cars for an approximate determination if their home or business will be affected. Lt. Jordon explains, “A good rule of thumb is to start at the hydrant and set your car’s odometer to 0 and drive to the corner of the structure. 2/10th of a mile on a car’s odometer is roughly 1000’. If it is questionable, your insurance company should send an agent out to measure for a more accurate determination.”
Lt. Jordon explains, “Homeowners who have received a new installation of a fire hydrant near their property should contact their insurance company and explain to them you have a new hydrant in the area. They will contact the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) for verification. We have sent the information to ISO, who has informed us that these additions will be effective February 1, 2014. In other words, ISO has told us that their mapping department has a two-month lead-time, once they receive the files. What that means is that their mapping department should have these hydrants listed on their maps and in their files by February 1, 2014, at which time a reduction in premiums should be awarded to the property owners.”
Should anyone desire more information, please contact Lt. Jordon with the Fire Prevention Division at 706.629.7741, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.