Free drive by car washes have been occurring in various locations around the city of Soldotna as the Central Emergency Services (CES) continue their bi-annual fire hydrant flushing and flow testing. According to CES Fire Marshal Gary Hale, hydrant flow testing and flushing is very important to the Insurance Service Office (ISO) which provides rankings on a scale of one to ten for fire departments across the nation upon which fire insurance rates are based, "The lower the number, the better the rating with a 1 being the best possible. Within the city of Soldotna we have a number 3 rating and outside the city limits if you are within five miles of one of our satellite stations the rating is a 6 because there are no hydrants outside the city limits. It's a very significant number in determining the price of your home fire insurance," explained Hale.
Hale also says that the flushing purges the stagnant water from the dead end lines where water is sedimentary unless a hydrant is turned on, "You can't have water directly at the hydrant or they would freeze in the winter and that's why you may see the water run a dirty color for a few seconds as you drive by. We do this twice a year in the early spring and late fall and it usually takes about two weeks or ten business days to complete the process," he told the Dispatch. CES volunteers like Jesse Noel and Dave La Forest enjoy making rainbows around the city and apologize if anyone gets a little unexpected spray over their cars during the spring flushing.
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