Keeping snow off fire hydrants a wise effort

After a rather slow start, this winter has picked up steam and is turning into a fairly normal one across the region.

Included are some significant snowfalls in several areas, cold temperatures and windy conditions, which all add up to growing snowbanks and snowdrifts.

While the banks and drifts can provide fun for kids looking for something to climb during the winter, they are causing city and county snow removal crews to concentrate on clearing the roadways of snow to keep the highways and streets safe for motorists.

However, what can get lost in the snowbanks – literally – are fire hydrants, which may go unnoticed until they are needed.

In an effort to make sure the hydrants are accessible to fire crews in case of a house fire, the Ishpeming Volunteer Fire Department is once again asking residents of the city to “adopt a fire hydrant.”

The fire department has encouraged residents to participate in this informal program for several years. There is no need to sign up for the program, simply grab your shovel and go find the nearest fire hydrant.

And not only does the effort make it safer for residents in case of a fire, it also helps out public works crews that seem to get smaller and have more work to do every year.

For those who have the time and inclination, it would also be a valuable service to perhaps seek out an extra hydrant or two in your neighborhood or elsewhere where you know elderly or other residents may not be able to heave shovelfuls of snow away from the hydrant.

Ishpeming Fire Chief Ed Anderson is also encouraging residents of other communities to pitch in and clear hydrants in their areas, which is certainly a good suggestion.

While we certainly hope there are no house fires this winter, there is always the possibility and assisting firefighting crews get water on the flames as quickly as possible could help keep damage at a minimum and prevent injuries to residents and firefighters.