Fire departments perform water shuttle assessment
BAKERSVILLE – Mitchell County’s fire departments had something to prove Saturday, March 23, during a water shuttle assessment.
The water shuttle assessment is used by the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal to assess part of the rating received by all fire departments. It is a required assessment to lower a department’s rating.
“It shows a department is capable of having the rating it has or to lower a department’s rating,” said Ashley Beam, chief of the Bakersville Fire Department. “The water shuttle demonstrates how much water can be provided at a fire scene.”
The haul is timed. The state determines all tankers on the road in Western North Carolina will travel at 35 miles per hour. When the water haul is graded, tankers are 100 feet out, are filled up and then have to drive 100 feet away. This year’s water haul is especially important to the Spruce Pine and Bradshaw fire departments, both of which are trying for a lower rating.
This year’s water shuttle was also countywide, allowing each department to participate voluntarily.
“The trucks are graded on how fast they can be filled and how fast they can be emptied,” Beam said. “The water shuttle is a small component of an overall rating process. In rural counties that don’t have hydrant systems the water shuttle is done to show we can sustain the water flow needed at the scene of a fire.”
Mitchell County’s water shuttle was assessed by Terry Young, an inspector with the office of the state fire marshal.