Help your local fire department by adopting a fire hyrant.
Dickinson Fire Department's Adopt-A-Hydrant program is starting its third year.
The app, available on the DFD website, allows people to adopt a fire hydrant and take charge of keeping it clear of obstacles so it's readily available for use in an emergency.
"People can go onto the website, select the hydrant they like and make sure it's operable for us for fire service," Dickinson Fire Marshal Mark Selle said.
Duties include keeping a space of three feet clear of snow and debris so the fire department can get to it freely.
"It's to help us make sure the hydrants are available for us in case of a house fire," Selle said. "For us to fight a full house fire, we have to have hydrants available for us to use."
The city has a fire hydrant on the corner of every block, more than 1,500 total, but only 15 of them have been adopted.
"People don't realize how many there are or where they're located," he said. "There are a lot of hydrants we can't shovel out. We don't have the staff to go out and shovel every one. This way, people can help us out and keep those cleared so we can see them and find them."
There have been instances where the DFD has been impeded, and firefighters have spent time clearing the space themselves just to access a hydrant.
"It's been everything from snow to debris and garbage people stack against the hydrant," Selle said. "When they're clear, we don't keep it in our mind that they're accessible and good to go."
Selle warns that a fire can grow rapidly.
"As much time as we can save getting that water is crucial time we need to help protect that structure," he said.
The app can be accessed through the Dickinson Fire Department website, which is also linked on its Facebook account.
"You select the hydrant you like and you get the responsibility of making sure you and your neighbors are safe," Selle said, "and increase access to the fire hydrants so we can put out fires in case there's an incident."
A reward of adopting is that adopters get to give a nickname to the fire hydrant. Some have names like Freddie the Fire Hydrant, Squirtle (a Pokemon), or simply Felicia.
"You can name them whatever you want," Selle said, "and there's also pride in knowing you're helping your community and helping your fire department have good access to a hydrant."
Selle is grateful to see people volunteer for the service.
"It helps us," he said. "As a fire department, you're expected to have your best day when somebody's having their worst day, and having to fumble to get a fire hydrant available, to do your job, something hindering you that could have been prevented, it's a hard thing to swallow on our side."
He added, "Seconds and minutes count when you have a fire."
For more information, visit https://www.dickinsonfire.com/adopt-a-hydrant-program.