Save lives by digging out buried fire hydrants, walkways

Toledo Fire and Rescue officials explain the public can help assist them with doing their jobs amid snow and freezing cold temperatures.
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 5:30 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The city of Toledo is home to over 14,000 fire hydrants. This week’s recording-breaking snowstorm has left many of those hydrants buried and covered. With such an extreme number of hydrants to manage, Toledo Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Richard Syroka is calling for backup.

“What we would like to do is have the citizens take a look up and down the street and if you see a hydrant unbury it, about a 3 foot round circle,” said Deputy Cheif Syroka. “It takes anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes to try to unbury those, and those 3 to 5 minutes mean we aren’t at the scene. And of course, a fire doubles in size approximately almost every 17 seconds.”

With cleared hydrants, fire officials say their job can be done faster and more effectively. But their obstacles don’t stop there, firefighters say unshoveled homes and residencies they are dispatched to can create major danger.

“It creates a treacherous area for our firefighters to work in, whether that’s at an actual fire or whether it is black ice,” said Syroka.

Fire staff are asking civilians to shovel snow and scrape away any ice if possible. As for roadways, Deputy Chief Syroka explains the City of Toledo is there to assist them with clearing snow from the path of their rescues.

“We’ve had plans set aside where if we know there is an issue on a street they will come out and plow it just as we are arriving on the scene,” said Syroka.

Firefighters say the winter weather is not ideal working conditions but is a reality they have to overcome to serve and save those in need.

“We are a midwestern city we expect cold, we expect snow, and stuff like that so we just adapt,” said Syroka.

Toledo Fire and Rescue officials explain regardless of the weather outside, they want to remind drivers that when any first responder is approaching with its lights on to pull over to the right, not the left but the right so they can get to their destination rain snow or shine and protect the community.

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