Firefighters Asking For Help Keeping Hydrants Clear of Snow

February 27, 2019 05:47 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- With thousands of hydrants across the city, Rochester firefighters are asking people to help.

Fire trucks carry between 650 and 800 gallons of water, meaning crews need to find the water source within about three minutes. If hydrants are buried under the snow, their approximate location can be seen on a GPS tracker.

"If you have a 5 to 6 foot snow drift, we have pipe holes to try and narrow it donw, but it's a needle in a haystack, basically," said Capt. Ben Davis of the Rochester Fire Department.

Even once a hydrant is found, digging it out takes time, when every second counts.

According to the Minnesota State Fire Marshal, a fire doubles in size every minutes. The division sent out a few firefighters, set a timer, and showed just how long it can take to get to a buried hydrant.

By the end of the demonstration, more than three minutes had been spent shoveling before water could flow.

After last weekend's storm, Kasson firefighters say they spent hours freeing more than 100 hydrants, but with more than 700 hydrants in Kasson, crews there are calling on property owners to do their part.

And to help crews even more, you can get a hydrant marker installed.

"Especially maybe if we have a late night snow or something like that, people haven't had a chance to clear their hydrant, at least there is a flag sticking out of the snowbank, we know it's there; we're not just guessing," Davis said.

To get a hydrant marker install in Rochester, clear your hydrant three feet in all directions and call Rochester Public Utilities.


Hannah Tiede

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