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

Penticton Vee player of the week, new assistant coach joins team

Penticton’s James Miller named BCHL player of the week, former Surrey coach joins Vees

Update: Penticton man who allegedly exposed genitals makes court appearance

Penticton RCMP said incident occurred at the Kiwanis Park

Peach City Radio offered funding for new project

Speak Out Community Collective to feature live interviews with community groups

Penticton city council candidate questioning vote counters

Kevin Proteau has previously requested the city go back to manual vote counts

Almost 2,000 votes already cast

Penticton voters taking advantage of advance polls

Video: Okanagan Fest of Ale Society doles out $60,000

The society has given out over $60,000 to Penticton and area not-for-profits since 1996

VOTE: Nature in Focus reader’s choice photo contest

The Penticton Western News Reader’s Choice photo contest

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Sockeye run in Shuswap expected to be close to 2014 numbers

Salute to the Sockeye on Adams River continues until Sunday, Oct. 21 at 4 p.m.

Michelle Mungall’s baby first in B.C. legislature chamber

B.C. energy minister praises support of staff, fellow MLAs

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

Most Read