Marshfield (OnFocus) – The partnership between Marshfield Fire & Rescue and Marshfield Utilities is a critical one. Imagine needing to call 911 for a fire. Whether for a home, barn, or business, that is a call everyone hopes to never need to make.
“If fire assistance is needed, hope changes to one about saving: I hope the fire department arrives quickly; I hope that they can save some of my property, or worse some of my loved ones; I hope that they have all of the tools needed to do their job as efficiently as possible. The last one might not be something that you actually think about because it is somewhat of an expectation,” said Melissa Barnes, MU. “Marshfield Utilities (MU) plays a role in ensuring this need.”
The MU Water Department takes several measures in an effort to have properly working hydrants whenever they are needed. The DNR mandates that every 2 years each hydrant is operated. This is just one aspect of maintaining the hydrants.
In the fall the Water crew pump out all hydrants which winterizes them. This also provides an opportunity to discover any needed maintenance. The winter provides another challenge with hydrants, maintaining access. Plowing and shoveling snow ahead of time means that in the event the hydrant is needed the fire crew does not lose valuable time trying to access a hydrant to hook into.
“When MU flushes hydrants, it removes debris sitting in the pipes which has a possibility of flowing into the pumps of the fire apparatus and causing severe damage to the fire pump,” explained Fire Chief Scott Owen. “When a fire call does come in, the MU Electric Department has a role to play as well. Having power disconnected to the structure as early as possible is very important to the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department (MFRD) as they begin rescue and suppression operations.”
The disconnection is a safety issue for firefighters as they fight the fire, and in some cases more importantly once the fire is out and they start overhaul – which is the process of checking for fire extension throughout the building. During this time, the firefighters are opening walls and ceilings to check for hidden fire.
“In the event of a significant delay of power being cut, or not being cut at all, firefighters have an increased risk of contact with the electricity,” said Owen. “As they perform their duties there is a likely possibility of cutting through electrical lines, potentially causing life-threatening injuries.”
MU is proud of their fast response times for power outages, and the same goes for response times to a fire scene where they are turning power off.
“MU and MFRD have a history of a great working relationship, which is something both teams look to continue long into the future,” said Barnes.
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