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Buried fire hydrants places lives at risk (take 2)

Cross post from HatCityBLOG


Here’s a picture taken on Sunday of a buried fire hydrant in front of the Palace Theater on Main Street…unacceptable

I know I’ve already talked about this subject but this is VERY serious.

I can not stress how important it is for residents to take the time and clean around fire hydrants when cleaning snow from their driveways. It shouldn’t take public humiliation or photographers snapping pictures of problems in the city for people to do the right thing.

First off, if a hydrant becomes buried in snow, firefighters will have a difficult time locating the buried hydrant during a fire when every second counts.

Second, if you don’t clean around a hydrant right after a snow storm, as tie goes on the snow around the hydrant will harden and make clearing all the more difficult for firefighters.

Third, if you live near a hydrant, you’re only hurting yourself and your neighbors when firefighters waste time clearing around a hydrant during a fire.

In short, you’re PLACING LIVES AT RISK when you don’t properly clean around a fire hydrant…which is exactly what happened yesterday in at a condominium complex fire in Branford.

Again, you shouldn’t need city officials to tell you to clean the hydrants…common sense should tell you to do the right thing…

Categories: General

10 Responses

  1. Brian says:

    I have a hydrant in my yard and I have dug it out every time the plow goes by. I have done this for over 40 years. I, like many of the people who have submitted comments on this, have back and shoulder problems. In the 40 plus years I have done this, only 2 times has any of my neighbors ever lifted a finger to help. Both times (same neighbor) they only helped because I asked them to because my back was so bad that I could not even finish my own driveway that day. All of my neighbors have snowblowers (I just have a shovel ) and for the most part, are too lazy to even clear the snow from their own driveways, let alone help to do what would perhaps save their own home. All of this is annoying but the worst part is that two of my neighbors have frequent parties and do nothing to ensure that their company does not park in front of the hydrant. The only ticket that has ever been issued to anyone was to me, for the one time that I parked on the street between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. ( which is illegal in my city but I did beat the ticket in court) on a night when my car broke down in front of my own house. I was not parked in front of the hydrant, but simply on the street. The name given to this law is call a “snowbird” law which I found amusing since it was August when this happened. My point to all of this ( beside a venue to take my little pet peeves out for a stroll ) is that I will continue to shovel out the hydrant every time the plow goes by because it could just as easily be my home that is in need of the use of that hydrant. And because it is simply the right thing to do. I do not expect the government to unblock every hydrant every time it snows. That would be a colossal waste of my tax dollars. I want my neighbors to know that they are welcome to come on over and help clear the snow any time the mood strikes them. Come on over and say hello. Bring a shovel . If you don’t have one, I can help you out with that. I don’t know for sure but I do not think the responsibility is only that of the homeowner who’s yard the hydrant is in, but of everyone who could benefit from its use. Besides, do you realy want me muttering to myself ” I hope it’s YOUR house that my efforts ALMOST saves ” with every shovelful of snow? You people know who you are. Come on, many hands make light work, be a good neighbor and lend a hand.

  2. Rhonda says:

    We had a house fire years ago, they never even considered using the fire hydrant that was right in front of our house to fight the fire.

  3. Rhonda says:

    I just got off the phone with the mayors office in my town. My husband and I cleared the hydrant in front of our home several times and the plows kept covering it back up. To clarify, I had shoulder surgery earlier this year and my husband has had extensive back surgery so this is difficult for us but we tried to very hard to keep this cleared yet(repeating myself)the city employees kept covering it back up. Yesterday we got home to find that the city had decided to clear out their fire hydrant and in order to do that they took the snow that was around their hydrant and dumped it onto our privatly owned driveway. They covered half of the width of our driveway with a pile of snow about 4 1/2 feet high! To make the situation worse my daugther who lives at home with my 18 month old grandchild had to get out of the house after this, (the baby was sick) and in order to get out she had to squeeze her car out through the other half of the driveway that did not get covered, no easy task believe me! As far as I can see this was done out of nothing more than pure spite on the part of the person who did the job, there was no reason for them to take this snow and dump it onto our driveway nor do I think that they had the right to do so, definitly not morally and I don’t think legally either. I am done attempting to clear their hydrant for future reference. As I mentioned before my husband and I have physical restrictions. I have one child home who will be flying the coop sooner than later leaving us on our own and as we age I don’t feel that we should be responsible to try to clear public property during a storm when we pay good tax dollars to the city to do exactly that. After having this tossed on us because some employee was having a bad day makes it even less likely that I will be willing to put either my own or my husbands physical health at risk for people of this low caliber!

  4. SFF Scott Freeman says:

    The firefighters at Crater Lake and Mt. Hood Oregon use hydrant snorkel to access hydrant water without digging at all. Simple to use no waiting for water.

  5. Small Investment says:

    I don’t have a back condition, however I can’t hurl snow that far over my head – these piles are ridiculous – so I paid someone to plow my driveway & dig out my hydrant. I figure it’s cheaper than the deductible I will pay if my house burns to the ground. If you can’t afford a house & all the responsibilities that go with home ownership, rent & whine to your landlord.

  6. sheila ventura says:

    I have called 311 twice to report a buried hydrant in our neighborhood!
    Nothing has been done. My husband has a back condition and cannot shovel. The hydrant is in the yard of an 80 yr old woman who sees little of her family. Shouldn’t the city bear some responsibility here? This is ridiculous.

  7. Alfonso Robinson says:

    @Stupid: You beat me to the punch.

    It’s rather simple, taking personal responsibility in cleaning a fire hydrant, which is quite simple to do, SAVES LIVES. Why wait for the fire department to do something that you can do yourself?

    If you near by a buried hydrant, you already know where the hydrant is located. As outlined in the video clip, the fire department in Branford could not find the buried hydrant when they responded to a condo fire and were forced hook up to another hydrant…that takes TIME that you don’t have when dealing with a fire.

    As Stupid stated, the department is cleaning the hydrants but people should really take personal responsibility and for their own safety. Just imagine what would happen if you have a fire in your house and the department has to deal with digging out a hydrant because it was too much of an “inconvenience” out of your busy life.

  8. Stupid says:

    You are both really stupid! You are whining that it is not your responsibility to help out and dig out a fire hydrant that you know is at the corner of your property and god forbid your house catches fire, you could care less how long it takes for the firefighters to find it, dig it out and hope it is not frozen now, while your house burns to the ground. If the fire hydrants cannot be located or are frozen, tanker trucks are your next option to save your house. The firemen HAVE been out digging out the hydrants- but a little help never hurt anyone- only yourself if you don’t. But Hey- it’s not my house so who cares!!!!! Good Luck!

  9. DanburyResident says:

    I am sick of this blame being put on the resident. How are we going to clear all that frozen road snow that is taller than me with just a plastic shovel and a bad back? Like the above comment I am sick of the sidewalk blame, now this falling on us tax paying home owners? I cleared my sidewalk and driveway 4 times already since the plows come by (faster than the speed limit) to shoot the snow back onto our properties ALL DAY LONG! How many times do we have to clean the mess they make? If I give up and let the plows win its me that gets the ticket for the snow on the sidewalk that I cleared many times.

    Maybe you should stick to the non-stories on local poltics, library or talk shows. Stop making an issue on this and making we the tax payers into the criminals. Let the public employees do this clearing on the days we don’t have snow, or is that asking to much? I mean I only work 50 hours a week and can’t sit by my window waiting for the next city worker to cover my sidewalk and driveway all day.

    God forbid if firefighters have to leave the warm station when a fire is not happening (this is not NYC, we don’t get many calls) and go around and clear fire hyd. What are we paying them $30 an hour to wash fire trucks inside the garage?

  10. AreUKiddingMe says:

    Correct me if I am wrong. Are you saying that the resident that has a fire hydrant is responsible for making sure that fire hydrant is cleared just in case there is a fire the firemen can find it? Now, I have to take the time to find that hydrant myself after the plow has buried the hydrant in which by the way is located on the corner of my my property and the hydrant is completely buried by the snow plows and the snow is really heavy by now or better yet may have ice. So now while I am trying to clear the hydrant I just happened to hurt my back can I bill the town for my medical bills and along with my other bills should I end up being out of work? In addition, are you telling me I own that fire hydrant? I didn’t think so. While I know to do the right thing but your asking people that may not be able to do this for medical reasons so therefore, I think that the fire station or the Department of Public Works should go around and clear the hydrants off. It is the town’s responsibility to keep the people safe and this should include clearing the hydrants. It is bad enough when people shovel their drive and here comes a plow dumping all the snow back into their driveway.