SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With more snow expected in March and April, now is an excellent time to remind people about keeping fire hydrants clear of snow and ready to go. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue rushed to a house fire at 1 a.m. Thursday. The first thing firefighters had to do was assess the situation, then find the closest fire hydrant.

“We had to do a little bit of digging to get all the connections hooked up. It was cleaned out somewhat, but there was still some cleanout work that had to happen to be able to connect to it and get it going,” said Division Chief Steve Fessler with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue.

Fessler says it did not have a big impact on their response time — but that is not always the case.

“When you are on a fire scene, every second counts,” said Fessler. “Being able to pull up to a hydrant, connect to it and get all your personnel up to the scene and working right away is extremely important. Those few seconds make a big difference.”

We drove around with Fessler and many of the fire hydrants we saw were mostly cleared out.

“You’ve got the 3-foot diameter all the way around it, so there is good clean access from the street side so when the firefighters come up, they can easily get to it make their connections off the front off the sides whatever they need to do, and they will be able to open it from the top,” said Fessler.

The next hydrant we found was partially cleared of snow, it had room by the sidewalk, but the street side was partially blocked.

“To be able to connect our 5-inch, our large diameter hose, we would still have to dig this portion of the berm to be able to connect into it well so that our line could go out and feed out whichever direction it needs to,” said Fessler.

So with the likelihood of more snow before the winter season ends, you might want to look around your neighborhood. Locate your hydrant and if needed, grab a neighbor, a shovel and clear the way. According to the city there are around 9,600 hydrants to maintain in Sioux Falls.