GRAND MARAIS – NEWS – The Grand Marais Fire Department urges residents to keep snow and ice clear from fire hydrants, as well as exhaust vents for high-efficiency furnaces and hot water heaters.
Winter snow, as we’ve received over the last couple weeks can often hide fire hydrants under mountains of snow making them impossible to find quickly. Emergency Management and the Grand Marais Fire Department is asking residents to help by keeping the fire hydrant closest to your residence or business clear of snow. It is recommended to clear a 360-degree, three-foot circle around the hydrant.
“Clearing the snow around a fire hydrant is an easy way for residents to lend a hand to improve community safety,” said Chief Ben Silence. “In the event of a fire, firefighters have to locate and shovel out fire hydrants before hooking up to them. During emergencies every second counts; when fire hydrants are clear of snow and ice it saves valuable time, which can also mean saving lives and property.”
The Fire Department also asks residents to clear home furnace and exhaust vents of snow that may have accumulated from drifting and blowing snow. The Fire Department receives emergency calls regarding elevated levels of carbon monoxide (CO) during the heating season. A common problem that causes CO levels to become elevated as a result of venting problems related to furnaces and/or hot water heaters due to snow. Check your outside vents and clear them from snow and ice.
“Additionally, when snow falls very quickly it can cause a build-up of snow on your chimney,” said Chief Silence. “Most furnaces do have safety devices in place so that if the chimney is blocked off, it will not allow the furnace to turn on. Regardless, when we receive this much snow in a short time or over several days with extreme cold, it is wise to just look up at your chimney to make sure it is free from snow.”
Please use caution when clearing blocked hydrants, exhaust vents and chimneys. Do not do anything that can put you at risk of injury to clean that snow off.