WEST FARGO — Every winter, local fire departments remind the public to clear snow from hydrants near their homes. During an emergency, it can make a world of difference for first responders.
A house fire can double in size every minute, meaning it's crucial firefighters get to a water source to put out flames as quickly as possible, said Capt. Michael Hawley with the West Fargo Fire Department. To show just how much precious time a covered hydrant can waste, WDAY News timed how long it would take a crew to clear one.
It took around 90 seconds for a crew of four West Fargo fire fighters to clear a hydrant completely covered in snow. And in an actual emergency that could take longer.
"We're not going to able to devote four people . . . to clearing out a hydrant like that," said Hawley. "To be able to take those two or three firefighters and put them on other tasks is huge, and it makes a big difference if there's a structure on fire," said Hawley.
During a fire, the department would only have one or two firefighters shoveling.
WDAY's Tyler Ziegler also gave clearing snow off a hydrant a try. It took the reporter around 2 minutes 15 seconds to uncover it by himself. To be clear though, he said the firefighters snow pile was much bigger than his.