BPS teaches fire safety

Published 6:05 pm Friday, June 24, 2016

The Bainbridge Public Safety fire prevention division’s role includes much more than simply responding to fire calls and fighting blazes.

They are an active member of the community and host free fire safety and prevention programs. They are also in charge of flushing and maintaining the 873 fire hydrants throughout the City of Bainbridge.

“A church or any kind of organization, or a business, if they call us, we’ll come out and do fire prevention, fire safety,” fire chief Doyle Welch said. “A lot of the daycares, they’ll call us and we’ll send a fire truck out there.”

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The department’s fire prevention education is also one of the factors that contributes to its ISO score, which effects insurance rates in the city.

Currently the city of Bainbridge has an ISO score of 69.50, which classifies it as a Class 4 community. Factored into the score are the emergency communications in the city, the water supply system, the fire department and a community risk reeducation score which looks at the fire education in the community.

“Fire department, they check our equipment, staffing, training, geographical distribution of fire companies,” Welch said.

The city is currently working to raise their score to be recognized as a Class 3 community. The improved score could lead to a reduction of insurance rates in the city.

Steps they have taken include improving their fire hydrant maintenance and focusing on education for both their firefighters and the community.

“All hydrants get flow flush tested every year now,” Welch said. “They have been for the last three years consecutive. When we do this peoples like ‘what are you doing? You’re wasting the water.’ We’re not wasting the water. We’re actually flushing the mains and stuff in the city to make the water cleaner.”

They are also painting the hydrants with a color-coded system that will notify the truck operators how much water they can safely pull.

To help improve the community risk reduction score, Welch said that they have worked to educate people about fire safety including installing smoke detectors.

“The City of Bainbridge has allowed us to go and change the batteries in smoke alarms,” Welch said. “If somebody has a smoke alarm that’s chirping, which tells you the battery is low in it, we have batteries here and we’ll go change them free of charge. We don’t have any free smoke alarms to give to the public, but if somebody buys one and they can’t install it all they got to do is call us and we’ll come put it up for them.”

The department also now has two certified arson investigators, another factor that could improve their score.


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