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How Clear Should Your Neighborhood Hydrant Be?

After receiving over two-feet of snow, firefighters tell us how much snow you should remove from your area fire hydrant.

Welcome to You Ask... Patch Answers where we answer readers questions.

We recently received questions about clearing neighborhood fire hydrants to help fire departments. But how much of the hydrant should we clear? How many feet around the hydrant will help the firefighters?

Here is your answer:

According to Stoneham Fire Chief Joe Rolli, fire departments need about two feet of snow cleared away from the hydrant. "The front of the hydrant is most important because that is where the hose gets hooked up," said Chief Rolli. Also, the nut on top of the hydrant must be clear, as firefighters need to use it to turn it on.

dgobs February 13, 2013 at 01:55 PM
This is probably a stupid question, but is it the responsibility of the people whose property a hydrant is on to clear it? My closest hydrant is on my neighbor's property and hasn't been cleared off yet. I feel funny just walking over and clearing it myself since I don't really know them. Is there a protocol or unwritten rule about this? Is it up to the neighborhood to clear it, or that one house?
impromptulaundry February 13, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Seems that as it's a shared resource that either home might need, and so you each share responsibility for clearing it. You could decide not to clear it based on its proximity to their property, but where would that put you if your home was on fire and the firefighters were unable to access the hydrant when they came? My landlords and I are new to my house this year, and we neglected to clear a hydrant this weekend (not purposefully, we just are new enough that we hadn't registered it was there under all that snow). A neighbor kindly did it for us this time and I am very grateful. We of course will take care of it in the future.
James Edwards February 13, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Winchester Firefighters have been clearing them around town . Why not Woburn?
Roth Gill February 13, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Woburn Fire has been out clearing hydrants. I spotted a truck going down Central Square yesterday clearing hydrants.
francis soyer February 13, 2013 at 10:33 PM
James,we clear hydrants every time it is necessary.Believe it or not we actually are out doing responses in between shoveling.We also do twice as many calls as any surrounding community.We also carried people through the snow-swept drifts at the height of the storm to get them into the back of the rescue and transport them to the hospital.Of course this was at 03:00 when most people were tucked warmly in their beds.One final note: the Fire Department doesn't own the hydrants;the water dept.does.It is to our,and your,advantage that we are out shoveling the hydrants each winter.Luckily lots of people help out; especially in North Woburn where I work.To the residents who help clear their neighborhood hydrants.Thank You!

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