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Buried Fire Hydrants Are a Real Concern for Local Fire Departmen - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Buried Fire Hydrants Are a Real Concern for Local Fire Departments

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After nearly a half a dozen blizzards in recent memory, the Fargo Fire Department is asking residents for some help. Fire hydrants across the F-M area are buried and that means valuable time is wasted shoveling snow out before crews can even get to the fire. Today Valley News team's Eric Crest has the scoop on what you can do to help.

This time of year fire departments are slammed. In Fargo alone the fire department expects to get about ten fire calls everyday.

"This is our busy time of the year. We get these cold snaps and people are using alternative heat sources. Their furnaces are in overdrive and this is the busiest time of the year," says Captain Ryan Viergutz of the Fargo Fire Department.

The worst thing about being this busy this time of the year, is the fire hydrants that are buried under neath mother natures blanket.

"It's fairly common. It happens more often than you would think. And some winters depending on how close we are to a big weather event like we had, maybe even more times than not," says Captain Viergutz.

We found out the problem isn't just in residential areas but on city-owned properties too. From the Fargo Park District's office to Island Park and even Dike West. In all of those places you can find the hydrants if you look hard enough. But the hydrants should be more accessible.

"When you're out doing your sidewalk or driveway and when you have that hydrant on your boulevard, give us a nice wide open space there. Down to the ground, three feet on all sides gives us plenty of room," adds Captain Viergutz.

Now if there were a fire it could take crews up to five minutes just to dig a hydrant out. But for firefighters time is everything.

"If we do have to dig it out we have to assign a crew to clear out the hydrant. And getting that hooked up that could have been used for fire suppressant efforts or rescue and those types of things. So it puts a delay on our whole process," says Captain Viergutz.

So next time you're out blowing or shoveling, keep your little red friend in mind. He's a lot more valuable when the right people can get to him.

'It's a delay we really don't need. Fire can grow really fast when it's given an opportunity," says Captain Viergutz.

It's recommended that you shovel a three-foot diameter to the ground all the way around your hydrant. While tickets aren't issued for not taking care of the problem, you're whole neighborhood can benefit from your hard work if the hydrant is needed.

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