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Fredericton residents concerned over snow covered fire hydrants

Click to play video 'City of Fredericton says there have been complaints about buried hydrants' City of Fredericton says there have been complaints about buried hydrants
The city has been busy checking fire hydrants early Thursday to make certain they were cleared of snow before more hit. As Megan Yamoah reports, the city is asking people to help out the fire department by digging out – Feb 27, 2020

There are over 2,500 fire hydrants in Fredericton and keeping them clear of snow has been top of mind for those living in residential areas as buildup increases.

“We’ve been away for a bit out of the country and when we came back we were surprised by the amount of snow,” said Phil Lepage, a Fredericton resident.

According to the city, water and sewer staff perform hydrant snow removal based on priority, so areas that are heavily populated like schools get their hydrant cleared first.

READ MORE: Snowfall warning for New Brunswick prompts school closures

Once cleared by equipment, hydrants are then cleaned out with a hand shovel.

“There are times when hydrants…we’ll get a little behind on them,” said Dave McKinley, the Fredericton fire assistant deputy chief.

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In a statement, Trent Brewer, the water and sewer utility manager, said hydrant snow removal operations for any storm are dependent on the amount of snowfall and the difficulty of disposing the snow.

Click to play video 'Fundy Coast residents saw 20 centimetres of snow Monday' Fundy Coast residents saw 20 centimetres of snow Monday
Fundy Coast residents saw 20 centimetres of snow Monday – Feb 10, 2020

“Our crews work regular shift work weekdays and weekends to complete this operation,” Brewer said.

On social media the Fredericton fire department started a campaign encouraging people to adopt a hydrant.

“When they do their yard and do their driveway take an extra 5 minutes and do around your fire hydrant,” said McKinley

But not everyone in town was hip to the idea of shovelling the extra snow.

READ MORE: Snowfall warning for New Brunswick prompts school closures

“Whoever is responsible for the clearing, phone them. I wouldn’t take any risk especially if I was an older person,” said Lepage.

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While others said they would gladly give the city a hand.

If the hydrant isn’t clear when a fire breaks out the Fire Department has a contingency plan.

“It’s not like we’re rolling up with no water we have enough water to get us by until the hydrant is cleared off and ready to go. We’ll have person that is assigned to that job when we roll up to a scene,” said McKinley.