Clearing snow from fire hydrants may help save lives

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Even though Christmas is over, the Milwaukee Fire Department is asking the public for one more gift that could help save lives -- clearing fire hydrants of piled up snow.

A fire doubles in size every 17 seconds. It costs fire crews valuable time having to dig out a hydrant when arriving on the scene.

"How long will it take a fire department to shovel out a fire hydrant that is completely buried? asked Battalion Chief Steve Brennan. "It's going to be longer than 17 seconds."

As residents clean up the snow from their sidewalks, fire departments are asking them to take a moment to clear nearby fire hydrants as well.

"We rely on the public to assist us in shoveling out the hydrants," said Brennan.

A drive through Milwaukee's east side shows there is a lot of digging out to be done. One resident says it's worth the extra time to clean if off.

"It behooves you to clean out the fire hydrant," said Josh Rosenberg. "You risk maybe losing a house or a next door neighbor's house catching on fire because the fire guys, they are going to be spending their time clearing out the fire hydrant."

Plenty of people don't realize it may be their duty to assist the fire departments during this time of year, but are not surprised when learning of the obligation.

"Ah, thinking about it I'm not surprised. It actually makes plenty of sense, I just didn't think about it," said Jacob Jordan.

The Milwaukee Fire Department says although digging out fire hydrants may not be something residents typically think about, you should take note of the statistics and remember that fire crews can use all the help they can get.