As the snow begins to pile-up with the approaching new year, the city of Dickinson and the Dickinson Fire Department are asking for residents to help keep fire hydrants clear of snow.
Launched in 2016 and updated yearly, the Adopt-a-Hydrant program continues to develop and now features a newly renovated and digitally accessible application where residents can voluntarily adopt a neighborhood fire hydrant.
"As a result of the snow amounts we had last year and in the past, the hydrants get buried and we can't find them," said Dickinson Fire Marshal Mark Selle. "Time is critical when it comes to fighting a fire. If firefighters have to spend precious minutes digging out a hydrant, it increases the time it takes for the fire department to get water on a fire."
Fire crews and other city workers had to clear out some hydrants last year, he said, even using satellite imagery to locate hydrants buried deep.
Selle said that if people would make an extra effort to clear out hydrants in their neighborhood while shoveling their sidewalk, the community would be much safer.
The Adopt-a-Hydrant program allows residents to adopt the hydrant(s) nearest their home and business. Adopting a hydrant is easy with the Adopt-a-Hydrant app on the fire department website at dickinsonfire.com/adopt-a-hydrant.
After adopting the hydrant, the program allows users to update the last date the hydrant was cleaned. Selle asked that residents please share information about the program with others to ensure hydrants are available in the event of an emergency.
According to the Adopt-a-Hydrant website, snow should be cleared 6 inches below all the caps and 3 to 4 feet around the hydrant, with a clear path between the hydrant and the street.
A review of the Adopt-a-Hydrant app showed that, to-date, only 12 of the city's more than 1750 hydrants have been adopted, prompting Selle to seek help.
"We don't have the manpower or the time to dig out every hydrant in town," he said. "We hope people take pride in their neighborhoods, homes and businesses to keep those hydrants clear."
Although the program is still relatively new, Selle hopes that every hydrant in the city will be adopted this year.
Selle added, "By helping us, you could save your neighbor's house or your own in an emergency."