BOUNTIFUL -- Utah fire officials are asking residents to take a few extra minutes while shoveling snow from their sidewalks to dig out the fire hydrants near their homes.
"Snow becomes like rock when it ices up," said South Davis Metro Fire Chief Jeff Bassett.
Bassett said most homeowners are unaware it is up to the homeowner to clear an area of at least 3-feet by 3-feet around the fire hydrants. Fire departments and city public works employees are not responsible to shovel out the snow around hydrants.
Bassett said if fire hydrants stay buried under the snow, when they are needed several problems occur.
The first is, firefighters cannot locate the fire hydrant.
And if they cannot find the hydrant, firefighters are spending time locating it and digging it out, minutes that could be used to fight a fire.
"Time is critical and all our efforts need to be on safety and making sure we can do our jobs successfully," Bassett said.
Most engines do have some water on them so firefighters can immediately begin fighting a fire, but they do not carry enough to put out a fire, he said.
Last year, many cities along the Wasatch Front participated in an "Adopt a Hydrant" program, which meant someone in the neighborhood took on the responsibility of making sure the hydrants were cleared, Bassett said.
Many hydrants are located along the borders of property lines.
Homeowners who live in cul de sacs sometimes dump all the snow in the one spot no one ever parks, Bassett said -- usually in front of a fire hydrant. That area needs to stay clear, so firefighters can hook up hoses to the hydrant.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE.