Buried fire hydrants in snow cause problems for firefighters - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Buried fire hydrants in snow cause problems for firefighters

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MISSOULA -

As we continue to deal with winter weather in Montana, local fire departments are sending out an important reminder, clearing off fire hydrants in your neighborhood could be the difference in saving property and lives.

Fire departments all across the country are adopting to get you to clear snow from a fire hydrant.

The snow is piling up and some hydrants are covered up to several inches of snow making it a hassle for firefighters.

It's a hassle they run into every winter arriving to the scene of a fire and not having access to water.

"We lose access…We can't see them and takes us a longtime to dig them out. When there is a structure fire time is of the essence,” said Jamie Porter, Fire Inspector of Missoula City Fire Dept.

Porter said the fire department does have maps of where hydrants are located, but that only helps so much.

If firefighters find that digging their way to the hydrant doesn't help, they have to resort to other options, which adds more time.

"The last thing we want is to have someone's house burning and then have to bring water from a different location because that is time,” said Porter.

ABC FOX Montana talked to Missoula residents who were out shoveling Wednesday afternoon.

Some didn't know where the hydrant in their neighborhood was located, but they understand the importance of clearing the way.

"As it's snowing out here, we should clear out the hydrants. I personally don't know where the closet one is near my place to dig out…But would be a good idea to know and for others to do so,” said Nora Hysell, Missoula Resident.

What Missoula fire departments want neighbors to do is adopt a hydrant and take care of it every time it snows, and year round.

"It's not just during the winter time that we are worried about clearance. We need to see at least 36 inches of clearance all the way around the fire hydrants. When people are planting vegetation, building fences we just ask to be aware,” said Porter.

If you need any assistance with clearing your fire hydrant call the local fire department.

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