People should make it a habit to unbury fire hydrants in the winter

You look outside in the morning and see the sun gleaming off the white, powdery snow. A smile spreads across your face as you imagine yourself making a snow angel or a snowman. The winter wonderland outside acts as the portal to a world of fun and imagination. Nevertheless, snow can be very dangerous. It can be icy, slippery, heavy, and cold, causing it to be a major hazard to students, parents, teachers, and even firefighters. 

Every winter, fire hydrants get covered in snow. This winter, however, there seems to be truckloads of snow in the Chicagoland area. This drastic increase in snowfall means that fire hydrants can get buried to the point where they aren’t accessible to fire departments. This is why firefighters need your help to dig up fire hydrants in your area. 

Public Education Officer Lt. James Denna at the Elk Grove Fire Department said, “Every day, between emergency calls we spend one to two hours twice a day driving around to shovel out fire hydrants that are buried in snow.” 

While firefighters are working tirelessly to keep us safe, they can only uncover so many fire hydrants before more snow falls. If the fire hydrants don’t get unburied, time is wasted shoveling out a fire hydrant when firefighters have more pressing matters on their hands. Just imagine if a fire were to happen when the nearest fire hydrant is buried in snow and precious seconds are being wasted uncovering that fire hydrant instead of putting out the fire. You could be one of the people preventing this scenario from occurring. Or, maybe it was your house that was on fire, and firefighters could have lost so much first uncovering the fire hydrant. This situation recently occurred in Orland Park. In another event in Racine, Wisconsin, the fire department was unable to get to a fire hydrant because it was covered in snow and a car was parked in front of it.

According to the Hoffman Estates Fire Department, “Fire doubles [in size] every thirty seconds.” In a video on the same linked page, the Hoffman Estates Fire Department timed a firefighter clearing a fire hydrant. It took about two minutes to fully clear when the snow was nice and powdery. If the snow was heavier, it would have taken them even longer. That means a fire would have increased to sixteen times its original size in the time it took to clear the fire hydrant. Every second counts in the event of a fire. Your house could be extremely damaged in those two minutes, and no one wants that to happen to them or someone they know. 

Provided by the Elk Grove Fire Department

To prevent your home from being extremely damaged in the event of a fire, if you see a fire hydrant covered in snow, grab a shovel. Lt. James Denna of the Elk Grove Fire Department said “To properly clear a fire hydrant, shovel a path from the street to the fire hydrant and then an area at least three feet wide on all sides of the fire hydrant.” Then, viola! Firefighters will be able to focus on saving lives while you save them some extra time.

As an added benefit, you can take a picture of the fire hydrant you shoveled out and send it to [email protected] to get service hours that can go towards the Harper Promise scholarship or NHS. for shoveling one or more fire hydrants. All you have to do is specify in your email how long you were shoveling fire hydrants. Even if you don’t live in Elk Grove Village, you can still contact Lt. Denna at the Elk Grove Fire Department to get service hours. 

You can make the community safer for everyone with only a few hours of your time and even get service hours for doing so. Even after this year, everyone should make it a habit to clear fire hydrants near them every winter. By doing this, you would be doing a service to your community. Lt. Denna said, “Any and all help we get from the community is greatly appreciated.”

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