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Buried Fire Hydrants Can Be 'Life and Death' Situation

December 24, 2013, 10:00 PM by Brady Mallory

Buried Fire Hydrants Can Be 'Life and Death' Situation

When the snow falls, you only have so much time to clear your sidewalks and driveways. While you are out with your shovels, don't forget about your fire hydrants.

"We've got so many minutes to get to the truck and out the door," Jeff Helm with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue said.

Seconds can add up when fire crews have to dig out fire hydrants buried under the snow. 

"It's life and death. Those seconds can mean the difference between life and death. It's that serious," Helm said.

Helm reminds us fires can easily happen in the winter because people are using their heaters. Some people also like to use candles this time of year. Firefighters need quick access to these water sources.

"Last winter, we didn't have a lot of snow cover, so it wasn't something that was high on everybody's mind. This year, we are early in the snow season and we're already piling up snow," Helm said.

According to Sioux Falls City Ordinance, fire hydrants need three feet of clearance in every direction.

"In order to keep your neighborhood safe, those that live in your community safe, keep your fire hydrants clear. That way your fire department can use them in a quick and efficient manner," Helm said.

Like anything, Helm said teamwork can go a long way.

"We can't do everything.  It takes a whole community to make it safe, and that's part of that.  If you see a need, reach out and meet that need," Helm said.

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