With the installation of 10 new fire hydrants and associated water main upgrades over the last two years, residents in some Hilton Head Island neighborhoods have better protection for their homes in case of fire.
“We partnered with the Hilton Head Public Service District (PSD) three years ago to install fire hydrants in various areas of the Island to reduce the distances between existing homes and the fire hydrants,” said Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue Chief Brad Tadlock.
In some areas, homes are farther away from hydrants than the local fire code recommends, and this increases the time it takes for firefighters to connect their hose to the hydrant and establish a sustained water supply.
“Property owners and members of the Town’s Gullah Geechee Land & Cultural Preservation Task Force expressed concerns about this. Our goal was to address and resolve this issue through our Joint Fire Hydrant and Fire Line Installation Program with the PSD,” Tadlock said. “We’re happy to say that we are almost finished with the project.”
The program is based on Fire Rescue’s needs in serving existing structures. PSD Information Technology/GIS Manager Ryan Lewis conducted an extensive Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis to identify specific areas where new fire hydrants needed to be placed.
“The joint program is a great example of the strong intergovernmental relationship between the PSD and the Town, benefitting our mutual customers – the residents of Hilton Head Island,” said PSD General Manager Pete Nardi. The PSD Customer Service Center also hosts Fire Rescue’s 911 Center and the Town’s Emergency Operations Center.
The Town and PSD each budgeted $50,000 annually over the past three years toward the purchase and installation of the hydrants and associated upsizing of several water mains necessary for hydrant placement. Although the Town and PSD share the costs for installing the hydrants and water mains, the PSD owns and maintains them as part of its potable water distribution system. The PSD has approximately 1,550 hydrants in its system.
New fire hydrants have been placed primarily in Gullah neighborhoods on the north end of the Island including Murray Avenue, Pinefield and Mackerel roads, Aiken Place, Cobia Court, Alice Perry and Horse Sugar roads, Christopher Drive, Sunday Ford Drive, Mustang Lane and Red Tip View, and Bligen Lane. Some existing structures in these areas were identified as being more than 900 to 1,000 feet away from the nearest fire hydrant.
The joint program is now targeting additional hydrants at School Road, Indian Pipe Lane, Evelina Road, and Orage Lane. The joint program does not cover hydrants for new developments or new units. Those costs are borne by the development.