Officials remind community to keep fire hydrants clear of snow
Obstructed hydrants can delay emergency response
Eagle River Water & Sanitation District in a news release is reminding community members that fire hydrants are essential to public safety and must be kept clear of obstructions, including snow.
With more than 2,000 fire hydrants in the water distribution system, district crews and contractors work to clear priority areas. The first hydrants to be cleared are located near hospitals, schools and high occupancy properties, such as hotels, due to the associated risk.
Hydrants must be readily accessible to firefighters. To operate a hydrant, fire crews need 7 feet to each side and a minimum of 4 feet to the back and 10 feet to the front of all fire hydrants. Once a hydrant is cleared, the space must be maintained per district regulations. Other activities may not fill in the cleared area. Fire service personnel warn that taking time to find and dig out a fire hydrant can cost firefighters precious time and diminish efforts to effectively get water on a fire.
The district appreciates the voluntary efforts of residents who clear their neighborhood fire hydrant of snow. Even a small walkway to a hydrant makes a difference until crews can clear a larger area.
Communities such as Beaver Creek, Bachelor Gulch, Arrowhead, and Cordillera help speed up the process by clearing fire hydrants after essential plowing operations.
“Those communities get a lot of snow and we appreciate their focus on public safety,” said Field Operations Manager John McCaulley. “It’s a great help, especially after storms that drop so much snow in a short period of time.”
Community members may contact district customer service if they notice hydrants that remain snow-covered days after a storm or if a previously cleared hydrant has been plowed in. The district reminds contractors that snow removal activities must not obstruct access to fire hydrants and operations must conform to applicable municipal ordinances in their areas of operation.
For more information on keeping fire hydrants clear, contact Eagle River Water & Sanitation District at 970-476-7480.
Melina Valsecia said her experience as an immigrant in Eagle County helped her understand the need for a new way of looking at how service providers engage with the growing Latino population, many of whom are first- or second-generation immigrants.