Residents Asked To Dig Out Fire Hydrants Trapped Under Snow

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 07, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-07 19:36:56-05

HOLLAND, Mich. — You can see thin red markers reaching toward the sky from below white drifts across the city of Holland.

Below the mound of frozen snow is the object that can save your life and your property should a fire break out.

The city of Holland is asking residents like Dave Lindsey to help dig those items out.

“It didn`t take very long, maybe five minutes,” said Lindsey.

Lindsey took his snowblower and cleared the snow from the fire hydrant in front of his home Monday.

“It’s a benefit to us to have one in front of our home and then it`s also a benefit to all my neighbors,” said Lindsey.

The drifts are so high in some locations, the hydrants are completely covered.

“In my neighborhood, on my own, when I was home last night, I actually cleaned out two,” said Chris Tinney, Holland Fire Captain.

With Holland’s heavy snows over the past few days, many hydrants still remain locked in a deep freeze that can cause serious delays when firefighters respond to a fire.

While they are doing their best to dig some of them out on their own with shovels that they keep on their trucks, fire crews are asking for the public’s help as well to clear them out.

“Trying to get three feet around it and do the best you can there. It`d be great if we had a path to the roadway. But, anything they can do to at least help us identify the hydrants and gain access to them,” said Tinney.

If the firefighters have to clear them, it can take precious time away from battling the blaze.

Both fire teams and Lindsey say, if everyone digs in, it could make a dramatic difference.

“The city asked us to do that, so if we have a hydrant in front of our homes, we`re to dig it out and keep it clean,” said Lindsey.

“As far as locating the hydrant, make sure it`s accessible and ready  to go, is going to be important to us. So, we would appreciate anything they could do to speed up the response,” said Tinney.

Tuesday’s News Release from Holland DPS:


The Holland Department of Public Safety is reminding all business and residents in the area to keep fire hydrants and exits clear of snow.

As a result of West Michigan’s large amount of snowfall accumulation, many of the fire hydrants have become covered making them difficult to find and access in an emergency.   Please take an active roll by “adopting a hydrant” and help the department by seeing that these valuable tools are uncovered.

In addition, residents should take note that snow and piling of snow can block exits from buildings and homes that may be needed in the event of a fire or emergency.  Snow blocking these exits needs to be removed and placed in an area that will not block someone’s exit from a building.

We would also encourage commercial property managers to inspect and maintain heat in areas of their buildings that have automatic fire protection systems.  With the extremely cold temperatures, water based fire protection in certain areas of buildings could be vulnerable to freezing and damage or failure could result.  Dry systems should be checked to make sure they have not been flooded or tripped.

Many commercial properties have required fire department access roads.  These need to be cleared and maintained so that fire apparatus can access buildings or portions of buildings in the event of an emergency.

We thank you in advance for your time and consideration with these matters.