Clearing snow from hydrants a problem in Maywood

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Clearing snow from hydrants a problem in Maywood

Postby MaywoodBiz » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:47 am

as seen on NorthJersey.com and in the Community News:

Clearing snow from hydrants a problem in Maywood
Thursday February 6, 2014, 10:42 AM
BY SUSAN JOY CLARK
STAFF WRITER
Community News

The Maywood Council discussed the problem of snow covering fire hydrants in town and possible solutions at a Jan. 28 public meeting.

Councilman Adrian Febre, liaison to the fire department who also serves as a volunteer fireman, brought up the topic.

"The hydrants have been covered up in snow, and what happens is, the fire department has to go out and shovel these hydrants. So, given the snow, there were a number of hydrants that were not visible or accessible, and the volunteers of the Maywood Fire Department spent countless hours locating and clearing snow from hydrants," he said.

The councilman mentioned that the fire department wants to start an "Adopt a Hydrant" campaign, where residents will clear snow from hydrants near their homes.

"In the event of a true fire emergency, seconds actually count ... If we have to remove snow, that takes away time from getting that hydrant hooked up, so removing snow and ice and debris from the fire hydrants is a big help to the fire department," said Febre.

Febre told the council he had looked online and found that 10 or 11 towns in Bergen County had ordinances regarding residents clearing snow from fire hydrants.

The councilman read a little bit from an example ordinance in Wyckoff, "The ordinance reads: The owner or owners and/or leasees of any real property in the township upon which any fire hydrant may be located shall maintain the area within a five-foot radius of the perimeter of the fire hydrant to ensure that such areas are free of snow and/or vegetation. The clearing of this area by the responsible party shall be completed no later than 24 hours after natural destruction such as snow and/or vegetation..."

Febre told the council that the Wyckoff ordinance was just a guideline but that he advised having some sort of ordinance requiring residents to clear snow off the hydrants.

"You have (fire) volunteers out there doing this... When snow is heavy, you can pull your back. When you're clearing one, it's not that much of a nuisance, but when you're clearing 20 or 30, it starts to weigh on you," said Febre.

Borough Attorney Ronald Dario inserted his thoughts.

"You're saying that it should be somebody on the block or whatever, but I think if it's going to be anyone, it should be the person whose house it is," said Dario.

Borough Administrator Roberta Stern shared some alternate ideas.

"I would prefer three houses, the one in the middle and maybe the ones on either side. It gives more people a chance to be part of it. I just personally know that if I were the person (whose house was directly lined up with the hydrant) I wouldn't necessarily want to be responsible because a fire hydrant doesn't just serve my home. It serves the area," she said.

Although the council agreed that the snow covering the hydrants after snowstorms was a problem, the governing body did not come to an agreement as to a specific solution.

The mayor suggested making the town aware of the problem and encouraging residents to take a part in clearing the hydrants.

Discussion of the issue will continue at future meetings.

Email: clarks@northjersey.com
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