Ten Signal Mountain fire hydrants are painted black -- warning firefighters not to use them -- as town leadership works to restore adequate water flow to them.
A hydraulic study conducted earlier this year showed that 10 of the town's 275 hydrants lack water pressure to support the city's fire equipment, Town Manager Honna Rogers said. The town is now working to prioritize repairs.
"With all of them, the fire chief wrote up for fire personnel where the next closest hydrant was," Rogers said. "We are slowly going around and painting them."
The town budgeted about $150,000 for water line repairs this year, Rogers said. Criteria for determining the order of repairs includes factors such as distance from a fire station, population density and the age of nearby residents.
Statistics show that fire fatality rates are higher for the elderly, Rogers said.
Signal Mountain Mayor Bill Lusk said the city's residents are safe because a stringent 500-foot hydrant requirement means that a back-up is only about 1,000 feet away.
"Our town is pretty well served by fire hydrants," said Lusk, who had a fire in his own home several years ago. "The response time in this area is very, very good."
None are near a commercial area, Rogers said.
The fire chief quickly responded when he identified the problem hydrants by painting them black, she said.
"We weren't trying to hide them by any means," Rogers said. "People notice that they're painted black, so they ask."