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Falls hydrant system rates well in survey

The city's fire hydrant system ranked well in a recently completed professional survey of all 2,266 hydrants, according to the Niagara Falls Water Board.

The full-scale field study performed by Don Gallo Consulting, a Buffalo-based professional engineering firm, was designed to assess the condition of each hydrant, determine the exact water pressure and fire flow levels, and help with planning future upgrades.

The Water Board said last week that the system was found to be "in good condition and fire protection services are sufficiently provided."

Michael Kessler, the Water Board's director of infrastructure operations, said board members were "very pleased with the study's results. Our hydrant system is performing well operationally, and we are well above industry standards compared to ratings of hydrant systems throughout the country."

Kessler said the Insurance Services Office, an independent national organization that rates municipal fire systems for the insurance industry, has rated 48,324 systems in the United States.

The rating system is based on a scale of 1 to 10, with the highest attainable rating being a 1 and the lowest rating a 10. The Niagara Falls Water Board was given a rating of 3.

The Water Board said only 647 systems in the country, or 1 percent, are rated better than Niagara Falls, and 95 percent of the systems are rated lower.

"Although we are ahead of the industry curve, we want to use the results of this study to further improve our hydrant system and fire protection service capabilities," said Water Board Chairman Michael McNally. "We look forward to working with the city and the Fire Department to develop a plan that even better protects the public health and safety of Niagara Falls and its residents."

e-mail: rbaldwin@buffnews.com

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