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Cortland/Ithaca

Fire departments ask for help clearing snow from hydrants

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Fire departments ask for help clearing snow from hydrants
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Blankets of snow have covered the region over the last few days. It's a lot of work for DPW crews, but also firefighters, because the snow is covering up fire hydrants. YNN's Carmella Mataloni tells us how the community can help out.

WATERTOWN, N.Y. — Some have been dug out, but some are still barely visible.

"We are asking all citizens if they have a fire hydrant in their neighborhood, make sure that it is cleared out so fire fighters can get to it," said Watertown Fire Chief Dale C. Herman.

With piles of snow pushed to the sidewalks, it's easy for the hydrants to get lost, which is causing problems for many fire departments across the state.

"We had a fire just Friday night and trying to locate the usable hydrant was difficult made difficult by the large amount of snow that we just picked up over the past couple weeks," said Herman.

The water department is also lending a helping hand; sending out workers to make paths around hydrants.

"The fire department and three different crews from the water department have spent a large amount of time over the past several days cleaning them out for emergency purposes," said Mike Sligar, Water Superintendent.

Officials say when you're digging out the fire hydrants, it's important to clear the snow from all around, so they have complete access to it in case of an emergency.

"We try to have at least a three-foot circumference around the fire hydrant and we ask that a path be shoveled from the hydrant to the street side," Chief Herman.

The hardest hydrants to clear are the ones on the street corner. Because of the snow buildup, it's hard to locate where the hydrant may be.

"The hydrants next to the streets or closest to the streets being pushed back by the plows are quite naturally heavier and the snow is deeper because now you're dealing with the compacted snow banks and not just the freshly fallen snow," said Sligar.

The fire departments says every second counts in a fire and they hope the community will continue to help with the clean up.

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