DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - If you've seen some of the fire hydrants in the City of DeRidder lately, you may have noticed something different about them.
DeRidder Fire Chief Kenneth Harlow said they've teamed up with Public Works to boost security on around 600 fire hydrants in the city.
"Public Works is providing the locks to us for the most part. They are installing some locks, but we're providing the bulk of the locks on the installation," Harlow said.
And it isn't just a few hydrants. They're securing around 600 of them.
"It looks like a metal can that sits on top of the fire hydrant and it allows us to put a pad lock on the hydrant itself. It keeps out unauthorized use of the hydrants and provides added security," said Harlow.
They've already finished about half.
"The hydrant locks were ordered in two parts, half and half, for the total number of hydrants we need. We're getting ready to install the other half here in the near future," said Harlow.
The locks are a preventative measure to keep people from tampering with the water supply as well as the hydrant itself.
Harlow said, "That can create major problems if somebody does not have authorized use of the hydrant as they can possibly damage the fire hydrant itself or damage the water lines which, of course, puts citizens out of water for periods of time and city crews have to come in and fix those water lines."
But most importantly, the locking devices will not slow down fire response.
"All of our personnel are equipped with all of the necessary equipment to remove the locks in a timely fashion and they have special instructions on what to do if something goes wrong, they can remove the lock quickly," explained Harlow.
Besides possibly damaging a fire hydrant, there are serious penalties for persons caught tampering with a hydrant.
Harlow said they should have the rest of the locks installed within about 30 days.