Reminders and Safety Considerations for Winter

Clearing Snow from Fire Hydrants
When winter is at its coldest, you may want to spend most of your time inside. However, it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening outdoors, too. Wintry weather can create fire safety hazards, such as ice or heavy snowfall that can obstruct fire hydrants. You can help reduce the risk by keeping fire hydrants accessible and clear of ice and snow.

Why It Matters
In an emergency, every second counts. Fire hydrants that are blocked, concealed, or difficult to access due to snow or ice and impede emergency fire response.
Fire trucks carry a limited amount of water, so one of the first tasks upon arriving at a fire is to locate a water supply from the nearest hydrant. Hydrants covered in snow can be difficult to locate, and uncovering them can waste valuable time needed during a fire fight. Keeping them clear can mean easier access to water and more time doing what really matters – fighting the fire.

How to Keep Fire Hydrants Clear
In addition to removing snow and debris covering the hydrant itself, it is recommended to clear a 3 foot area around the hydrant for easier access.
The Ely Fire Department also suggests maintaining a shoveled path from the street, sidewalk or driveway to the fire hydrant so that it is visible from the road and firefighters can easily access it.

Who Should Clear Hydrants?
Although there are few hard and fast rules concerning who should clear hydrants, it’s generally considered the responsibility of the residents occupying property near a hydrant. Consider helping elderly friends, neighbors, or those with medical conditions to keep their fire hydrants clear.

Clear Your Homes Air Intakes and Vents
Don’t get blindsided by carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. During the winter months, it’s important to keep your furnace vents, intake valves and chimneys free of snow. Blocked vents could cause carbon monoxide to build up in your home and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
A blocked vent also can affect the performance of the furnace, which may not run properly or at all when the intake or exhaust vent is blocked.
Fresh intake pipes usually look like white plastic tubes coming out of the side or back of your house. Even if snow accumulation hasn’t reached your vents, blowing and drifting snow can be enough to create a problem.
As a precaution, if you have a carbon monoxide detector, make sure the batteries are working. If you suspect you have a carbon monoxide issue immediately leave your home and call 911.
Common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
• Dull headache
• Weakness
• Dizziness
• Nausea or vomiting
• Shortness of breath
• Confusion
• Blurred vision
• Loss of consciousness

Follow City Snow Emergency Notices
Park off dedicated routes during snow emergencies. One of the reasons for the restricted parking is obviously for snow clean up and removal, but also to allow space for emergency vehicles to access already tight streets. If two vehicles are parked across from each other, many streets in the city become extremely narrow, add snow banks into the mix and streets become impassible to emergency vehicles. This could cause serious delays in response to an emergency. AT NO TIME DURING A SNOW EMERGENCY WILL THERE BE PARKING ON 2 SIDES OF ANY STREET.

Don’t drive unless absolutely necessary.
As roads become snow covered and slick the likelihood of having an accident or getting stuck it greatly increased. Even four-wheel drive vehicles can lose control, crash or become stuck. A stuck vehicle on a roadway can cause delays for snow removal and emergency vehicles alike. An accident on a snowy roadway calls out emergency responders who have to drive on the same slick roads that caused the accident putting them at risk as well.
If you do have to go out and drive allow plenty of time for travel, clear your car completely of snow and ice, drive with your headlights on, never pass a snow plow truck, the safest place is behind them on the road that they are clearing. Most importantly be patient.

Please use good judgment and be safe during snow storms! 

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