This fire hydrant on Dawson Avenue is halfway buried in deep snow.. Firefighters have recently had to dig around in a snow mound to find a fire hydrant on a call to a residence, which fortunately did not turn into an emergency. Dustin Godfrey/Western News

Firefighters ask property owners to dig out fire hydrants

Hydrants in Penticton have been buried under an extraordinary amount of snow this year

Penticton Fire Rescue doesn’t usually need to ask homeowners to dig out hydrants in front of their properties, but this season’s snow has been a little unusual.

While firefighters were extraordinarily busy with car crashes in the past couple of weeks, a big dump of snow in the final days of 2017 has also buried some of the city’s hydrants in snow, according to deputy fire chief Chris Forster.

“What our standard procedure is, the closest hall goes right to the house, or the building, whatever, the second fire truck comes in and it’ll stage at the closest fire hydrant in case they do need to lay the line and hook up to the hydrant,” Forster said.

“The other day we actually had a problem where we went and of course the second-in rig got on scene, and fortunately it was nothing, but in the meantime they were out there with their shovels in the back, using them like poles and just poking in the snow.

“They knew approximately where it was, according to the map, you know, it was the second or third house in, and so they were poking and poking and poking until they could hit something, and yeah. That’s kind of our biggest issue right now.”

Forster asked residents who have fire hydrants in front of their property to dig the hydrants out so if a fire truck is called to that block they don’t have to scramble to get access to the hydrant if a routine call turns into an emergency.

The hydrant in front of a person’s property is not legally that person’s responsibility, and a ticket can’t be issued for not maintaining access to the hydrant, but Forster said he hopes the fire department will get some support from the community on this.

“The city themselves, the public works department, just doesn’t have the capability to come around and try to open access every hydrant. We have to, given we’re on scene, but it may delay things,” he said.

“Realistically, the city tries to maintain the hydrants as much as possible, and they do go around and try to do as many as they can, but obviously people are out there shoveling the snow. If they could just make the effort to clear around their hydrant, then it will basically make it a lot easier and ensure no delay in getting fire suppressant to their building.

Forster said this wasn’t a common issue facing the fire department.

“You know Penticton, we get a little bit of snow for a couple days, and then it warms up and about zero for a couple days, so most of it melts off,” he said.

“Nine years out of 10, it doesn’t even go past a foot, so we can always see the hydrants, but this year … last week, that dump ended up being more snow than a (normal) year in those couple days.”

The City of Penticton also issued a news release Friday afternoon asking residents to make sure their properties and the sidewalks adjacent to them are clear of ice and snow.

“The Good Neighbour Bylaw requires all sidewalks adjoining private properties to be cleared of snow and ice before 11 a.m. following a weather event,” the news release said.

The city does have the power to fine property owners under the Good Neighbour Bylaw.

“In the majority of cases, after a removal notice is received, the snow and ice is attended to,” bylaw supervisor Tina Siebert said in a news release. “However, there are some cases where, despite the warning, action is not taken and the sidewalk remains un-passable. When that occurs, a ticket is issued.”

Residents can report problematic sidewalks to the city’s bylaw department within 24 hours of a snow event by phone at 250-490-2440 or email at bylaw@penticton.ca.


@dustinrgodfrey

dustin.godfrey@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chief Clarence Louie earns induction to Canadian Business Hall of Fame

Osoyoos Indian Band chief recognized as one of the country’s most distinguished business leaders

Hang glider pilot rescued from Pincushion Mountain

Pilot was able to help guide rescue crews to her location

Town of Oliver receives award for annual financial report

The town’s finance department is being honoured by the GFOA

Penticton Hospital Auxiliary donates to mental health

Canadian Mental Health Association received a $1,000 donation from the Penticton Hospital Auxiliary

Balmy winter forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

El Niño is anticipated to develop later this winter

Video: New Penticton studio is a playground for creative types

We toured Penticton’s newest creator space

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Hang glider pilot rescued from Pincushion Mountain

Pilot was able to help guide rescue crews to her location

Thompson Okanagan potential hot spot for lung-cancer-causing gas

Kelowna public forum addresses excessive radon radiation exposure dangers

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external watchdog

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Most Read