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City dwellers asked to help fire departments dig

Hydrants in hiding

Posted: Wednesday, February 01, 2006

 

  Red bolts and a small flag hint at the existence of a fire hydrant buried beneath snow on Rogers Road in Kenai Tuesday afternoon. Local firefighters are asking the public to help them keep the hydrants accessible during the winter months. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Red bolts and a small flag hint at the existence of a fire hydrant buried beneath snow on Rogers Road in Kenai Tuesday afternoon. Local firefighters are asking the public to help them keep the hydrants accessible during the winter months.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Now that snow is starting to pile up in the central Kenai Peninsula, firefighters in the cities are asking residents to lend a helping hand by unburying neighborhood fire hydrants.

“In the event of a fire emergency during the winter, could firefighters find the hydrant near your home?” asked Central Emergency Services Fire Marshal Gary Hale.

CES and the Kenai Fire Department have adopt-a-fire-hydrant programs that ask Soldotna and Kenai residents to take on the responsibility of keeping hydrants clear of snow and ice.

People should uncover fire hydrants near their homes after each and every snowfall and clear a 3-foot path around the hydrant to give firefighters room to work should the need arise, Hale said.

In Kenai, Fire Marshal and Assistant Chief James Baisden said residents should call the fire department to adopt a hydrant.

“By knowing which hydrants residents will clear, our guys can concentrate on those not on the list,” Baisden said.

The phone number in Kenai is 283-7666.

Hale said the program is voluntary in Soldotna and people do not need to tell CES which hydrant they have adopted.

He said CES divides the entire hydrant map into thirds and each of the department’s three shifts takes responsibility for monitoring and clearing one-third of the city’s hydrants.

“Our biggest problem is on the main arteries — the Sterling Highway and Kenai Spur (Highway),” Hale said.

“Plows push hard-packed snow and ice onto the hydrants and at times, we need a Bobcat to clear them,” he said.

Baisden said Kenai firefighters also use heavy equipment from time to time “to break away the big chunks.

“Then we clear them by hand,” he said.

The adopt-a-hydrant program is in place in residential neighborhoods as well as commercial districts in both cities.



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