City asking residents to clear fire hydrants

Published 9:56 am Tuesday, January 30, 2007

By Staff
From staff reports
NILES – Some Niles city officials are offering some tips on how to help them perform their duties more productively in the snow.
Fire Chief Larry Lamb advised that the immediate area around fire hydrants should be cleared of any snow to ensure quick access for firefighters. He also said home and business owners should be sure to keep back and secondary entrances – whether or not they are frequently used – clear of snow so the door can open properly and be used as an emergency exit.
"Speed when fighting any fire is important, and finding and establishing a water supply quickly is crucial to getting inside to fight the fire," Lamb said.
Businesses whose property are plowed at night should remind their contracted snow removers where fire hydrants are and to avoid covering them with snow, Lamb said.
Neil Coulston, director of Niles Department of Public Works, also said residents can help the city's 12 snow removers in clearing 70 miles of streets, three miles of alleys and seven municipal parking lots as quickly and safely as possible. He offered the following tips for winter safety:
Please try to locate vehicles in off-street locations during snow or ice events. Weaving in and out of traffic is not only very dangerous for the plow operators, but hampers their ability to clear all streets from edge of roadway to edge of roadway;
Do not plow, shovel or blow snow into the street. This is obviously contrary to the overall snow removal plan and is against the law;
Do not plow, shovel or blow snow onto a public sidewalk. The sidewalk is to be kept free of snow and ice and a clear passageway is needed for pedestrians. Piling snow on the walk may force a pedestrian to walk into the street, which can result in an injury or death;
If a fire hydrant is located near your home, please keep snow shoveled away from it. Keeping the hydrant visible and accessible to firefighters will improve their ability to respond to a fire in your neighborhood;
If you have an elderly or disabled person living next door, try to assist them with snow removal. Emergency crews – fire, police and ambulance – will have a much easier time in responding to an emergency medical call if the sidewalk and drive are kept clear of snow and ice. It can make a difference between life and death;
Keep snow piles low enough so they do not create a site distance problem for motorists;
Clearing snow from walkways as it falls, instead of allowing it to pile up, makes for easier removal.