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When winter is at its coldest, you may want to spend most of your time inside. However, it’s important to keep and eye on what’s happening outdoors, too. Winter weather can create fire safety hazards, such as ice or heavy snowfall that can obstruct fire hydrants. You can help reduce the risk by keeping fire hydrants accessible and clear of ice and snow.

Why It Matters

In an emergency, every second counts. Fire hydrants that are blocked, concealed, or difficult to access due to snow or ice can and will impede emergency fire response.

Fire trucks carry a limited amount of water, so one of the first tasks upon arriving at a fire is to locate a water supply from the nearest hydrant. Hydrants covered in snow can be difficult to locate, and uncovering them can waste valuable time needed during the a fire fight. Keeping them clear can mean easier access to water and more time doing what really matters – fighting the fire.

How to Keep Fire Hydrants Clear

In addition to removing snow and debris covering the hydrant itself, Cedarburg Fire Department recommends clearing a 3 foot area around the hydrant. This will help us with accessing the hydrant to connect hoses and operate the hydrant, it will also give our hoses enough area to charge and prevent kinking which could greatly reduce water supply.

The Cedarburg Fire Department also suggests maintaining a shoveled path from the street, sidewalk or driveway to the fire hydrant so that it is visible from the road and firefighters can easily access it.

Who Should Clear Hydrants

Although there are few hard and fast rules concerning who should clear hydrants, it’s generally considered the responsibility of the residents occupying property nearest a hydrant. Consider helping elderly friends, neighbors, or those with medical conditions to keep their fire hydrants clear.

The winter can be a time for enjoying both the great outdoors and indoors with friends and family. Help keep your home safe from winter fire hazards by ensuring your fire hydrants are clear and readily accessible in an emergency.