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FASNY says 'Keep it clear': Uncover your hydrants & ventilation pipes from snow


Fri, Nov 18th 2022 10:25 am

Submitted by the Firefighters Association of the State of New York 

Inches of snow are predicted to fall well into the weekend in Western and Central New York, leaving cars and sidewalks buried. The coming snowfall may also leave potentially life-saving equipment hidden – your fire hydrant and home ventilation systems.

The Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) urges New Yorkers to take a few minutes to check that the fire hydrant closest to them is accessible and visible to fire departments, and that they have cleared all ventilation pipes around their homes.

In an emergency, firefighters must be able to quickly access a fire hydrant. Critical minutes that firefighters spend searching for and digging out a fire hydrant can cost people their lives in an emergency. Residents should dig a recommended 3-foot area around the fire hydrant closest to their home.

“Following heavy snowfall, people should always check around their homes for blocked ventilation pipes and fire hydrants,” FASNY President Edward Tase Jr. said. “Carbon monoxide is odorless and deadly, and this simple task can save your life. Everyone should have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of their home and outside of sleeping areas.”

The coming storm may block or ice-over ventilation pipes and shafts for home heating units, washing machines, and other appliances. Poor ventilation can lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide – an odorless, tasteless, colorless and toxic gas. New Yorkers should check that their vehicles' exhaust pipes are clear of snow before starting them.

This time of year typically brings an uptick in home fires. New York has the third-most home fire fatalities in the country this year, closely behind Pennsylvania and Texas. More than 80% of fire-related casualties in New York are a result of residential fires, compared to the countrywide average of 76%.

Here are some tips from FASNY to stay safe following a storm: 

√ Clear snow from in front of your home or business and locate the nearest fire hydrant.

√ Shovel snow away from the fire hydrant, leaving at least 3 feet clear on each side.

√ If you have a home heating system, ensure that all vents are clear of blockages. A block of exhaust fumes can lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide. 

√ If you lost power and are using a generator, make sure it is properly ventilated.

√ ALWAYS check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working, and replace the batteries if needed.


Founded in 1872, the Firefighters Association of the State of New York (FASNY) represents the interests of the more than 85,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York state. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.


Consult your doctor first before embarking upon such physical activity, or when making changes or adjusting any prescribed medial routine, health plan or treatment schedule.

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