Understandably, Red Deerians eager to get snow away from their driveways or sidewalks do not give much consideration as to where that snow gets thrown or blown, as long as it is not back where it came from.
The city and its emergency services personnel, though, are asking residents to be cognizant of where that snow ends up.
Crews have been out this week checking the nearly 3,000 fire hydrants in the city to make sure they are clear of snow.
The city’s Utilities Bylaw states that one-metre clearances on each side of a hydrant must be maintained, and visibility of hydrants from the road must be assured as well.
With all the snow the city has received, the concern is that snow being cleared ends up thrown around hydrants.
While fire personnel know relative locations of hydrants in the city, they do not always know exactly where they are to be found in the event of an emergency.
“In a normal setting like a residential home or an office, that fire will double every 30 seconds and in as little as three minutes a fire can reach flashover.
Us spending two, three, four, five minutes trying to dig a hydrant out may be the difference between saving a building or not saving a building,” said Wes Van Bavel, the city’s acting fire marshal.
The city crews are out clearing snow around the hydrants this week by hand or machine.
Van Bavel said he hopes residents and business owners will focus on keeping them clear from now on.
Keeping hydrants clear of obstacles is ultimately the responsibility of the owners of the land they sit on or are adjacent to.
Under the bylaw, fines can be levied to residents who do not keep hydrants clear, though Van Bavel said any fine imposition is very unlikely.
He said the goal is merely to educate residents of the importance of keeping hydrants accessible.
Snow should be scraped down almost to the base of the structure, to ensure access to the whole hydrant.