Buried hydrants pose potential problem for firefightersPublished 9:48am Wednesday, February 5, 2014
There is a problem buried beneath the snow around Niles.
Local fire department officials say the accumulating snow has covered many fire hydrants across the region, causing a potentially dangerous situation for public safety workers.
“It is getting to the point now where we can’t locate some of them at all,” said Gary Brovold, Niles Township fire chief. “It is really important to keep those hydrants clear in case of an emergency. And it isn’t just in Niles — it affects all fire departments in the area.”
Niles Fire Chief Larry Lamb said his department’s ability to fight a fire could be delayed if firefighters have trouble locating a buried hydrant.
“If we can see them, we can get in there and get after them pretty quick, but if they are completely covered it can be a problem,” he said. “Any little bit of extra time saved helps us get water to a fire quicker and can be important from a life safety standpoint.”
While traveling up and down South 11th Street Monday, Brovold said he needed to use a metal detector to find two or three fire hydrants beneath the snow.
“We are dealing with fire hydrants that are completely covered,” Brovold said. “In a time of fire, we probably won’t have that tool with us to locate them.”
While there is no law requiring citizens to keep hydrants uncovered, Brovold is asking for the public’s help in clearing snow from covered hydrants.
“Everyone needs to look at it as if their house is on fire. The faster we can get to the hydrant, the faster we can do our job,” he said. “We are asking for everyone to do their part to help us do ours. “This is not a normal winter and it is definitely putting a burden on us.”