12/5/2016 - Adopt a Fire Hydrant in Somerville

The Borough of Somerville is pleased to announce the launch of a community service program in Somerville,   Adopt a Fire Hydrant.   While not unique to public safety, the overall concept of this program is a one of a kind program in New Jersey.   Mirrored after Adopt a Hydrant program in Boston, MA, the Somerville program allows for the on-line adoption of one of over 200 fire hydrants in Somerville, New Jersey.  During a fire, seconds can count when the fire department needs to locate a fire hydrant to supply water to a fire.

This program was developed and deployed by Somerville Troop 84 Eagle Scout Candidate Shanmukha  Akkapeddi.

Many towns have adopt-a-hydrant programs that require a resident or business to go on-line, download a form or e-mail a specific hydrant to adopt.   The Borough of Somerville adopt-a-hydrant programs allows an individual to go on-line and through a mapping tool that was built into the website, to “adopt a hydrant” which is closest to their residence or business.

Paul Allena, Technology Coordinator for the Borough of Somerville worked with Shanmukha for nearly ten months to develop and test this program before launching on Monday evening, November 21, 2016 at the Somerville Borough Council Meeting.   “I am very excited to finally launch this website said Allena”.   The Borough of Somerville has been a leader in government technology for many years and this is just another example of how government can interact with its citizens through on-line tools such as this.  

During the presentation on Monday evening, Troop 84 was represented by a number of their volunteer leadership.  Scout Master Gregg Puluka had some very inspiring words to say about this project which was unique from the many of his other Eagle Scout projects.  

“This is a case that we don't speak about often enough. Not that is does not often happen.  This is a case where local government did the right thing.  It would have been easier for the Somerville Borough Council to legislate a solution.  To make homeowners responsible for clearing fire hydrants and then assessing fines when that task was not accomplished.  But instead the Borough Council chose to take the harder more collaborative route to a safer cost free solution and I commend you for it. Every successful Eagle Scout project has many parents who bring it to fruition”.

“I would like to acknowledge the following; Councilman Tom Mitchell who challenged me and the Boy Scouts to clear the hydrants.  Councilman Ken Utter, Fire Commissioner who was our Borough Council champion of the project, and Mayor Brian Gallagher who, when I spoke to him at his house, promised to help usher the idea through the process”.

“Paul Allena, Technology Coordinator who personally spent many hours working with Eagle Scout Candidate Shanmukha Akkapeddi”.   And, of course, our Volunteer Somerville Firefighters who embraced and helped champion the idea”.

“In a time when the country is increasingly polarized, everyone can look at our small town of Somerville and use it as an example of what can be done through collaboration and cooperation”.

We now ask the residents and business owners of Somerville to do their part and adopt a fire hydrant.

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