Fire department conducts system checks while watering parks - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fire department conducts system checks while watering parks

LAWTON, Okla._Fire departments are known for their use of water, but the Lawton Fire Department is doing their best to conserve it.

Just recently, the department changed where they perform their weekly water tests on their trucks. In the past they've conducted them at each individual station and let the water drain away, but now they do them at city parks and so it can be used to water the trees and grass.

The effects of the drought can be seen all over Texoma. From the dry water beds to the dead grass and that's put water restrictions on pretty much everyone. Water is a necessity for the Lawton Fire Department so they’re doing their part to conserve.

"We were losing the beneficial effects of about 750 gallons of water per truck," explained Deputy Training Officer Terry Hansen.

With 14 trucks from all the city fire station, that adds up in a city under Stage 2 water restrictions.

"So all those departments got together and decided to be a good steward of the environment with the water crisis we are in [and] that we would look at places around town to find out where we could use that water," said Hansen.

Hansen says they will check every port that water flows out of to make sure when the vehicle is in action it performs. It's a test they have to do every week and can not scale back on.

"It's a life safety thing because not only for our fire fighters, but for the citizen that is in a house that needs us to come and save him. We can not rely on our equipment. We have to know 100 percent it works," said Hansen.

Hansen says the change is not just beneficial to fighting the drought's effect on the city, but also it's effect on the department.

"We are going to use them in an emergency scene and that is even more critical to save the water, because we need that in the system for the fires. If we deplete our water, we are not going to have that to fight fires with either," said Hansen.

The change has more effects on the environment than just fighting the drought. Before the change, water would run down the street into water drains carrying oil, which ultimately contaminates local creeks and lakes.

Hansen also explained that if you see a fire hydrant flowing for more than 15 to 20 minutes, it isn't the department's doing, but rather the city water crews.

"They've had a break somewhere in that system and they've got to flush out those pollutants or they come into the citizen's house," explained Hansen.

Hansen says without doing a full flush, it can plug up a house's pipes.

 

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