Fire coordinator cites time lost from buried fireplugs
Niagara County's fire coordinator urged county residents to ensure fire hydrants are dug out, noting the extra time firefighters spend shoveling their way to buried hydrants can prove disastrous during a fire.
"During an emergency and especially a fire, time is critical and every second counts. The extra minutes that a firefighter spends digging out a fire hydrant can make a significant difference in how quickly a fire can be extinguished and damage limited," Fire Coordinator Jonathan Schultz said, noting this winter's harsh snowfall totals and long-term below-freezing temperatures had made access to fireplugs a concern for county firefighters.
Schultz asked residents to be mindful of where hydrants are in their neighborhoods.
"I'm asking residents and business owners to consider 'adopting' a hydrant or two near their business or residence this winter by keeping them clear of snow," Schultz said. "This is critical to public safety at a time of year when there are increased fire hazards from heaters and indoor fireplaces."
Schultz offered advice to neighbors pitching in to clear hydrants.
"Snow should be removed about three feet away from the hydrant in all directions, with a pathway cleared between the hydrant and the roadway, so your local firefighters can access them readily if they need to," he said. Schultz provided these graphics, demonstrating proper hydrant clearing.