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Fire Commissioner Asks Residents to Clear Snow from Hydrants

A blocked fire hydrant could help save a life.

Editor's Note: Fire Commissioner Steve Toth wrote this letter due to a fire hydrant near Gabriel's Restaurant being covered in snow. A fire broke out at the restaurant Saturday. Firefighters had to dig out the hydrant from under the snow before they could put the fire out.

To the Editor:

With the large amount of snow the area received over the weekend, the Wayne Fire Department, as well as departments in surrounding towns, are encountering an all too common problem: fire hydrants that are blocked by snow or covered with snow.

Aside from the fact that the hydrants are not visible, therefore requiring the responding units to locate one farther down the road, having to dig our way to the hydrant, or digging to uncover the connections is time consuming. Those precious minutes could mean the difference in the outcome of extinguishing a fire and may affect the crew’s ability to making a rescue of a trapped victim. The fire department has found that buried hydrants tend to freeze quicker, placing them out of service until they can be thawed.

The Wayne Fire Department is asking residents to lend us a helping hand and take ownership of a fire hydrant that may be in front of their homes or even their place of business.

When shoveling the driveway or walk, take the extra few minutes to shovel in front of and around a fire hydrant. This will allow the fire department to spot the hydrant quickly, allowing us quick access to the connections. If you notice the hydrant has been damaged in any way or is leaking, we urge residents to contact the Wayne Township Water Department at 973-694-5090.

Access to a water supply is critical and seconds count. Shoveling out and around a fire hydrant could help save a life. And that life could be your own.

Steve Toth,

Fire Commissioer, Wayne Township

Chris February 12, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Please are lazy and don't realize that it's their responsibility and in their best interest to ensure hydrants are clear. IMO some form of a reminder should be sent out to residents at the start of every winter.
Jack Q February 12, 2013 at 03:20 PM
You should also clear the drains in the street so water doesn't build up and re-freeze.
Chris February 12, 2013 at 04:43 PM
Good point Jack. I'm the only one that did just that in my neighborhood. You never know when we could get 2+ inches of rain in February.
Jack Q February 12, 2013 at 07:41 PM
With the snow melt, it doesn't even take that much.
Scot Freeman February 27, 2013 at 06:33 AM
In our town Government Camp on Mt. Hood Oregon, we use a tool called Hydrant Snorkel. The fire hydrants are always avalible and there is never any digging. Check it out go to www.hydrantsnorkel.com

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