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Wauwatosa Fire Department asks for help clearing snow from hydrants

A fire hydrant on Wauwatosa Avenue is nearly covered with snow in 2008.

A fire hydrant on Wauwatosa Avenue is nearly covered with snow in 2008. Photo By Mary Catanese

March 5, 2013

The Wauwatosa Fire Department has put out a plea for residents and businesses to clear snow from fire hydrants on their property and make sure they're visible from the street.

Recent snowfalls have covered many hydrants and made them difficult to find should an emergency arise, Assistant Chief Jim Case said.

"When we get heavy snow, I would say we're probably somewhere in the area of about 30 percent - at times, about 30 percent of the hydrants can be still left covered. Most people are pretty good about it, but there are still a lot of them that need to be addressed."

It's a pretty significant problem, he said.

"We do have maps that tell us where the hydrants are, so if we pull up, we have a rough idea where one should be - we can pull out the maps and look, but once again, we'd rather be using that time for fighting the fire or taking care of the emergency."

Case said firefighters are sometimes sent out to clear hydrants, but with only 24 firefighters on duty at a time, it's not a priority. Case said he himself carries a shovel in his truck and will clear a covered hydrant if he has time.

"The home or business you save may be your own," he said in a statement.

Those with a hydrant on their property covered by snow that they are physically unable to clear should call the Fire Department at (414) 471-8490.

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