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Did you know locating and clearing a buried fire hydrant can delay firefighters from being able to carry out tasks like searching for victims or deploying water on a fire by as much as ten minutes? Despite extensive mapping and computer software, locating completely buried hydrants can be tricky. In addition, continued snowfalls, along with thawing and melting, creates ice buildup that can be extremely difficult to break through. This ice buildup may force crews to have to pass up the closest fire hydrant and lay additional hose; requiring additional fire engines and additional personnel, and creating a labor intensive effort just to get necessary water to the hose lines for fighting the fire. Following a few tips will ensure you and your neighbors have the best situation should tragedy strike in winter:1. Communicate with your neighbors and devise a plan for keeping your hydrant clear with each snowfall. Just because the hydrant is not directly in front of your home doesn't mean that you don't need to worry about it. If you see an elderly or disabled neighbor trying to work on the hydrant in front of their house, offer to be a good neighbor and take it over. 2. When clearing the hydrant, try to create at least a 3-foot clearance in all directions. Creating a large circular path ensures that firefighters have a clear and easy path to all connections in all directions. Creating a large circular path ensures that firefighters have a clear and easy path to all connections in all directions. Frozen caps and mounds of snow can change how firefighters need to approach the hydrant and prevent freezing during active firefighting operations.
3. Check hydrants following each pass of the snow plow. While it is never their intention, the snow plow drivers may inadvertently bury the hydrants as they work to widen roads and clear away slippery snow. Failure to clear the snow quickly can create hardened ice that is difficult to break away.