Fire Safety Awareness

Keeping Fire Hydrants Clear After a Snowfall

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While many regions in the United States and Canada enjoy white powdery snowfall throughout the winter months, there are some dangerous fire hazards associated with heavy snow on the ground, so extra precautions need to be taken.

The first priority for all of us after a heavy snowfall should be to make sure that any fire hydrants near our homes are cleared of snow and made easily accessible for firefighters in the event of a fire. When fire hydrants are covered in snow, locating and digging them out can become a complete waste of precious time that should be spent fighting a fire. Taking just a little time to shovel them out before getting to our own driveways and sidewalks can mean the difference between life and death later on.

Here are some quick pointers on making sure fire hydrants are always ready when they are needed.

  • An easy way to stay on top of the clearing of fire hydrants in your neighborhood is to take note of where they are located on your street before any snow falls. It is easy to forget where they could be located once everything is covered in white snow.
  • You should also make note of any neighbors, especially your elderly ones, who may be unable to clear a fire hydrant directly outside of their homes and offer to take care of it for them. Just a few short moments of shoveling some extra snow is a small task when you consider the risks of letting a hydrant remain buried.
  • In order for a fire hydrant to be quickly and easily accessed after a snow fall, an area of about 3 feet surrounding it should be completely cleared of snow or ice. This should be done after every new snow fall, or after any plowing vehicles might accidentally re-cover the area surrounding the hydrant.
  • If you are friendly with your neighbors, this is a great time to make an arrangement so residents in your area can take turns and share the responsibility. If not, this is a great excuse to get to know the people around you. Coming together to help protect the safety of the entire neighborhood is an excellent bonding opportunity.

Follow these easy pointers and make certain that the fire hydrants in your neighborhood are never blanketed with snow or ice. The minutes you spend clearing your hydrant a few times during the winter season, can save firefighters valuable seconds to prevent loss of property, injury or even death in the event of a fire.

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