Iowa firefighters asking residents to clear hydrants - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa firefighters asking residents to clear hydrants

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Local firefighters are putting out a plea to residents to clear and remove snow from fire hydrants.

Most roads in Eastern Iowa are now clear, but a lot of the snow from roads is now packed around hydrants, making a potentially dangerous situation for rescue crews if there's an emergency.

The Cedar Falls Fire Department puts out the plea on social media every year.

"we have some hydrants that have flags on them," said Battalion Chief Roger Stensland. "But if we don't have a flag to find it, we have to start digging."

KWWL drove around a few Cedar Falls neighborhoods in a rescue truck to look for buried hydrants.

It didn't take long to find multiple hydrants packed in with snow.

In a demonstration, it took two firefighters nearly 20 seconds to clear out a hydrant, which is precious time taken away from fighting an actual fire.

"Time is critical, fire can grow in a matter of minutes, so if we have to spend a minute finding the hydrant and clearing out around it, it adds to the fire growth.

There's a few important tips residents should know about clearing hydrants.

It's easier to dig out hydrants packed with fresh snow rather than frozen ice.

And when digging out the hydrants, pay special attention to the ports on the side.

"We want to make sure these ports are open so our fire hoses can connect to them if they need them," said Stensland.

Stensland says if a resident has trouble clearing out a hydrant, they should call the department; firefighters will gladly come clear it for them.

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