With an above average number of house fires throughout northwest Ohio this winter, any advantage firefighters have at the scene to attack a fire at one's business or residence will benefit those owners in the long run.
The best thing people can do is clear away the snow from any fire hydrant in their neighborhood. With a total 55.7 inches of snow this winter in the Defiance area, according to the National Weather Service, many hydrants have been buried thanks to the efforts of snow plows and snow blowers.
"This winter will go down in the record books for 2014," said Capt. Ed Bohn of the Defiance Fire Department. "For the number of days with temperatures below zero, at 18, we as firefighters continue to do our jobs. There have been seven working fires already in 2014."
In addition to the frigid temperatures and excess snow, the biggest concern of the fire department personnel is finding fire hydrants.
"When we have to take the time to locate and dig out the fire hydrant, then connect our hoseline to it," Bohn explained, "the public doesn't realize, a fire doubles in size every minute."
Each winter, the Defiance Fire Department encourages home and business owners to clear an area around the hydrant, to make it accessible to firefighters when the need arises, he noted.
"This has been an extreme winter, with the 1,056 fire hydrants in the city of Defiance, the public can help the firefighters by adopting a hydrant," stressed Bohn. "We ask that you take the time to clear an area around the hydrants in your neighborhood."
Fire personnel get notifications from the 911 dispatchers while en route to fire runs, informing them where the nearest hydrant is located to the address.
"The fire department has reference books on the trucks of the addresses where these hydrants are located," he added, "but when they are buried and especially in the middle of the night," it takes up valuable time. Bohn said it takes one firefighter approximately three times as long to hook up a hose when he needs to dig out the hydrant first.
"Locating the hydrant, digging it out and hooking up our hoseline, takes and uses precious minutes that the pump operator could be doing something else."