Maywood Deputy Fire Chief wants fire hydrants cleared - See

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Maywood Deputy Fire Chief wants fire hydrants cleared - See

Postby MaywoodBiz » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:00 pm

as seen in the Community News and on

Maywood Deputy Fire Chief wants fire hydrants cleared
Community News (Lodi Edition)

Maywood's deputy fire chief addressed the council about the problem of fire hydrants buried in snow.

The council has been considering an ordinance requiring residents who live near a fire hydrant to clear it of snow just as residents clear the public sidewalks in front of their homes.

Deputy Chief Chris Tuttle addressed the council in the public portion of a meeting on Feb. 11.

"I want to clarify a few concerns the fire department had as it pertains to the discussion that occurred at the last mayor and council meeting. The purpose of the ordinance is public awareness for all residents and to the merchants and owners of the town," said Tuttle.

Tuttle said that many times the firefighters go out after a snowstorm and can't find the hydrants.

"When I tell you that they are buried, they are absolutely unable to be found. I'm not exaggerating," said Tuttle.

He gave an example that it took five firefighters along with him 30 minutes to locate a fire hydrant on Golf Avenue, even knowing its approximate location. Each fire truck, he shared, is supplied with a map of where hydrants are located in town.

"Maywood has fire hydrants approximately every 500 feet in town which adds up quite fast. The majority of residents do a very good job maintaining the hydrants in or around the property," said Tuttle.

Tuttle said most of the difficulty was with commercial properties where snow is plowed on top of the hydrants. Apartment complexes are also a difficulty. Even when the hydrants get cleared off, plowing buries them again quickly.

"We're not going to stop looking for hydrants. We still will. We can have every resident going out and shoveling their hydrant. We're still going to do our due diligence after a snowstorm and drive around town and check to make sure they're accessible and they're OK," said Tuttle.

He shared that it was important not to lose time on a fire call. Looking for a hydrant for seconds or minutes can really change the outcome of a fire, he said.

"We're a bunch of strong men and boys, so we don't mind getting our hands dirty shoveling out hydrants, but when people are purposely putting snow on top of them - and I will say there are a handful of residents who have hydrants at the foot of their driveway and they like to put snow on top of them - not only is it an operational concern, but it's a continued nuisance concern," said Tuttle.

Tuttle thought that many Maywood residents, since there's been a changeover of townspeople over the years, might not realize that the fire department is volunteer-based and may assume the firefighters are paid to do the extra work of clearing off hydrants.

"A lot of times, these volunteers are spending the night at the firehouse, the night before on storm standby away from their families. They have to come back home, shower and go back out and do hydrants. So, we don't mind doing it, but the perception is if we're going to do it, we're getting paid to do it," he said.

Tuttle said he welcomed the support of the council in the matter.

"We're not looking to be the fire hydrant police or anything like that. A lot of times if we find a resident who has their hydrant and hasn't maintained it, we knock on the door very politely, introduce ourselves, explain the importance of clearing the hydrant and the next storm, nine times out of 10, the hydrant is cleared off," said Tuttle.

The deputy fire chief told the council that an ordinance would help in the future and that firefighters could inform people of the new measure as they're checking on hydrants.

Maywood does not yet have an ordinance concerning clearing hydrants of snow and will discuss it at future meeting.
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