Clearing fire hydrants can help save time for firefighters - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Clearing fire hydrants can help save time for firefighters

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Last Sunday, St. Francis Catholic School flooded. When the Billings Fire Department  arrived, they were required to inspect the fire hydrant nearby. After all the recent snow, it took crews some time to remove snow from around the fire hydrant.

Battalion Fire Chief Matt Hoppel said it is not mandatory to clear off hydrants, but it is very helpful if people made a 3-foot radius around the hydrant and a little walkway to the street. He said it makes a big difference.

Hoppel said he's asking homeowners or people who live near a fire hydrant to help out with removing snow from them. He said by doing this, you are helping fire fighters in the case of emergencies. He also said there's a hydrant located at every other block in residential areas as well as every block in business areas. He said it's a tedious job for the fire department to clear hydrants by themselves.

Hoppel said hydrants can have ice around them which makes it difficult for the fire fighters to get to quickly. He explained why this is important for the community to help out.

"They're an invaluable resource for our crews," Hoppel said. "Like I said, we have very limited water that we carry on these trucks and if we are responding to a fully involved house, there's no way our trucks can take it on without those fire hydrants. Even the five trucks that show up don't even have enough water combined to take care of those fires. So that fire hydrant is an absolute necessity for us."

Hoppel said it's not just fire hydrants you have to remember to keep clear. He added to make sure the emergency side exits to buildings are as well.

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