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Snow patrol: city officials remind residents to help keep hydrants visible

Thursday, February 21, 2013820 views

During the winter months, clearing snow and ice from roadways, sidewalks and driveways is a routine chore for many residents throughout the city.

This year, city officials are reminding residents to keep up with the task, not only for common sense reasons, but also as a public service to help firefighters find hydrants that might be buried after a snow storm.

West Valley City Fire Chief John Evans said it will help local firefighters to do their job more quickly if everyone makes an effort to keep on top of clearing snow off hydrants in neighborhoods.

“When there’s snow, it’s always a little bit harder [to find the hydrants],” he said. “We just ask that people keep an eye out.”

Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures this winter have created conditions that caused fire hydrants throughout the city to be buried under piles of shoveled snow.

Often, residents don’t think about where they pile snow moved out of driveways and off sidewalks in front of homes. In addition, snow plows coming through neighborhoods don’t always manage to completely clear the snow all the way to the curbside, making it difficult to get through snow drifts to the hydrants along parking strips.

In mid-January, West Valley City officials issued a reminder to everyone to do their part to help with the situation by clearing snow from any hydrant in front of, or near, their homes and businesses.

According to city officials, the snow this season and reduced access to hydrants was causing problems for fire crews.

“The fire department has responded to multiple structure fires where access to hydrants has been an issue,” read a statement released Jan. 16.

Evans confirmed that fire crews have had difficulty locating buried hydrants. He said that buried hydrants can cause delays for fire crews trying to do their job.

West Valley City Fire Department responds to fire and emergency medical calls. There are five fire stations located within the city with approximately 30 people on duty at each at any given time to answer emergency calls from residents and businesses.

Fire crews have maps that show where fire hydrants are located in a neighborhood, but if the hydrants are buried under snow, that can increase the time it takes for firefighters to get their jobs done.

Residents can do their part to help keep the hydrants clear by remembering to pile snow in their yard, and not on parking strips. Snow should not be put out into the street.

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