Staying safe this winter - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Staying safe this winter

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Many people are cleaning up the mess after a winter storm moved through the area.

If you're shoveling sidewalks, firefighters want to remind you to do something else that helps them, and it might even help you.

There are more than 3,300 fire hydrants in the city of Waterloo, and firefighters don't have enough time to clear every one, every time it snows.

So, they're asking for help.

As many people shovel their cars from drifted snow and clear their sidewalks, Waterloo firefighter Ty Graham is asking people to take a few extra seconds and clear their fire hydrants too.

"Obviously our fire hydrants are marked with a rod on top of them for just a case like this, but time is precious, and it's never more clear than in an emergency. That's time we have to take to get off the truck to clear the hydrant to be able to utilize it," Graham said.

Graham said every second counts, and he reminds people to keep an eye on your neighbors too.

"If you have someone in your neighborhood who is elderly, or they're possibly disabled, or maybe they just need some help, do your neighbor a solid and help dig them out in case they can't," Graham said.

Even though there are no rules against having snow on your vehicle in the state of Iowa, police can pull you over if you don't have a clear view of the road.

However, firefighters say it should be common sense to have the snow cleared from your car.

"Whether it's the law or not, it really shouldn't matter. You should clear off your windshields so you have a clear, visible path of the road, as well as all of the other windows around your car. They're there for a reason. It's a safety concern to make sure they're clear," Graham said.

Even though the snow is easy to shovel now, over time it will harden and freeze, making it difficult for firefighters to hook up their hoses.

Firefighters say Waterloo WaterWorks does a great job making sure hydrants have enough water and pressure at all times.

They say, clearing your hydrants will ensure hydrants work better in an emergency situation.

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