Fire hydrants are a necessity for keeping us safe

Fire hydrants are a necessity for keeping us safeRecently, the Village Council received the results of a study evaluating whether Pinecrest should start its own fire department. A public hearing will be held in early fall to explore the matter further.

Meanwhile, the Village faces what I perceive to be a more immediate challenge – how to meet the county standard of having a fire hydrant within 700 feet of each home in the village. It’s hard to believe that in an amazing place like Pinecrest, which incorporated back in 1996, many of the nearly 850 homes without water access also lack hydrants within that required distance.

As a former firefighter, I wish to emphasize how important this is. Fire service operations take place in very stressful situations, where time is of the essence. Delaying an operation even slightly can adversely affect the outcome. One of the major causes of delay can be the location of a fire hydrant. We have many hydrants that are located appropriately, but we simply don’t have enough.

As a resident, are you aware of where the hydrant closest to your home is located? Here in Pinecrest, that hydrant could be as far away as 2,000 feet or even more. Firefighters are able to use these distant hydrants, but clearly it puts a strain on their systems and delays their ability to protect life and property.

So what is the solution? I would like to see the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department respond to this need by providing the necessary supply mains and hydrants. Up to this point, the Village has focused its efforts on providing county water to replace wells. It’s certainly an important objective, but not as essential as potentially saving a human life.

In most cases, the primary water supply mains and hydrants are already running up and down the streets of Pinecrest. It seems to me that the county has a duty to meet its own standard by connecting to the already existing mains and extend them out to the 847 homes that lack access to hydrants.

Many rural towns don’t have supply mains that are just a few blocks away, so it’s very difficult for their fire departments to fight fires effectively. How lucky we are to live in a village like Pinecrest, with supply mains and hydrants that are frequently just a few blocks away. I believe our Miami-Dade Water Department supplies us with some of the best water in the country and our Dade County Fire Department is one of the best.

We should insist that the county provide the fire department with the proper number of correctly spaced fire hydrants in the Village of Pinecrest.

Doug Kraft is a Pinecrest resident and a retired firefighter.

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