1. #1
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    Default Question: Snow And Hydrants

    I know the winter months are far away, but I dont forget and wish I had asked this question before the incident occurs.
    Scenario: You pull up to a house thats involved and is going to need alot of water fast. The engine you pulled up with has a 750 gallon tank and is only going to provide water for 2-4 minutes. You find the Hydrant burried in snow because the plow didnt see it and it just shoveled the dense heavy snow on top of it and you need room for the HUMAT.

    Would it be best to just shovel the whole thing out enough to use it, or should I shovel it out enough to flush it and then let the water melt the snow?

    No one at the station could really provide an answer, saying that most of the time the hydrant is clear. But I was wondering about that one time when its not.

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    The honest, hard-core answer; to bad for the home owner, they should have taken a little initiative to keep the hydrants clear.
    Reality, you are going to get it uncovered enough to snub and go from there.
    PS what's a HUMAT?
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    Default Don't forget about ICE

    Over here in the Midwest, if a plow happens to cover it, then we'll dig it out enough to get some lines on it and that is it.

    If it is cold enough to hold snow, it probably means it is cold enough for ICE, and letting all that water out, which will get on the road causes hazards for everyone, FF's, traffic, cops, etc.

    There is already going to be a decent amount of ice on the road from leaking lines, why add to the problem?


    BTW: I am now totally depressed that winter is coming.... :<(
    Last edited by Hazmat91180; 07-19-2007 at 12:58 PM.

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    A HUMAT is a valve that is connected to our 5 inch line. We hook it up to the hydrant, and if a mutual aid company shows up, they connect their 5 inch line to one end (without having to shut off water) and then plug a discharge from their engine into another port. once they have done this, they throw the valve, take over the hydrant and are super pressurizing the water that they feed back through the HUMAT to us.

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    I don't know about tons of snow but in all of our hydrant bags there are a few road flairs to melt the ice on caps and such. If you can see the hydrant even a little you can probably clear the front and sides of it with your hands.

    a google search of HUMAT turned up this:


    http://www.humat.com/

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    That HUMAT is fancy; we'd find a way to break it....
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
    "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPFDRum View Post
    The honest, hard-core answer; to bad for the home owner, they should have taken a little initiative to keep the hydrants clear.
    Reality, you are going to get it uncovered enough to snub and go from there.
    PS what's a HUMAT?
    Too bad for the homeowner? Are you for real?

    Should they determine in advance which homeowner is going to have a fire and let them shovel it out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie82 View Post
    I know the winter months are far away, but I dont forget and wish I had asked this question before the incident occurs.
    Scenario: You pull up to a house thats involved and is going to need alot of water fast. The engine you pulled up with has a 750 gallon tank and is only going to provide water for 2-4 minutes. You find the Hydrant burried in snow because the plow didnt see it and it just shoveled the dense heavy snow on top of it and you need room for the HUMAT.

    Would it be best to just shovel the whole thing out enough to use it, or should I shovel it out enough to flush it and then let the water melt the snow?

    No one at the station could really provide an answer, saying that most of the time the hydrant is clear. But I was wondering about that one time when its not.
    We shovel a circle around the hydrant and a bit of a path away from the outlets. It doesn't take to much to accomplish this task.

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    Why wait until a fire occurs. Why can't someone go out after the plows have done an area, check the hydrants, and dig them out if needed? Or call the plow crew out to help clear it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Why wait until a fire occurs. Why can't someone go out after the plows have done an area, check the hydrants, and dig them out if needed? Or call the plow crew out to help clear it.
    For starters we did that more then once this winter. We get people stopping and asking us whay are you doing that? So you explain it real quickly and they still are confused. The first post of mine was in regards to a hydrant that wasn't done. As I said it only takes a few seconds to do this.

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    I know in my area the plow crews or another form of Dept of Highways infact clean out around the hydrants. On the base I work at it's the firehall's job to clean em.
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    All our hydrants have whip fiberglass sticks on them so we can find them. After a bad snow our district employees go out with the snowbloer and shovels. If its really bad the district will pay some of the volunteer fireman to go out and help the district guys.

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    Snow whats snow? We just get cold weather here.
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    Our department will go out after a big snow and make sure all hydrant are clear. Sometimes homeowners will do a few of them here and there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazmat91180
    If it is cold enough to hold snow, it probably means it is cold enough for ICE, and letting all that water out, which will get on the road causes hazards for everyone, FF's, traffic, cops, etc.

    There is already going to be a decent amount of ice on the road from leaking lines, why add to the problem?
    I'd like to hear you tell that to your chief when he asks why is there rocks, a shoe, etc. in the pump and has to be checked out of service and sent for repairs. I'll always flush the hydrant.

    Concerning the ice on the roadway, you can always call out the highway dept. to lay salt or sand out. Also, if we're using water shuttling we also have them lay salt or sand at the intersections the tenders splash water at.

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    I would shovel it out enough to utilize it.....time is of the essence at this point. You need water, it's there just below the surface, clear out enough to hook the 5" on and spin the wrench around. We don't use a HUMAT, so that's a moot point for us.

    As far as keeping them clear, we have an "adopt a hydrant" program in our village and it seems to work well. The problem where I live, it's not unheard of to go to bed at 2200 and when you get up at 0600 there is 2 feet of snow that wasn't there the night before . Homeowners are not expected to get up at 0200 to check their hydrants .

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    Extending the hydrant outlet to the street with a section of 5 or 6" hose is a good option to avoid the larger area needed for a Humat or Hydrassist Valve. All you would need to do is dig a narrow trench for this setup.
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    After a large snow storm we put in a call for a " Snow Emergency Standby " any Vol firefighter that wants to shovel can go out in a pumper with three or four men to clear hydrants after the Woodbridge Township Public Works plows the streets!....

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    Quote Originally Posted by MG3610 View Post
    Extending the hydrant outlet to the street with a section of 5 or 6" hose is a good option to avoid the larger area needed for a Humat or Hydrassist Valve. All you would need to do is dig a narrow trench for this setup.

    I was thinking a similar thing.

    We just picked up a Humat recently, and it probably won't be a daily use item, but another tool for the box. I suspect that our 25 foot hydrant lines would work just like you pictured. It might reduce the flow a smidge, but a good way to expedite the whole thing.
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    If we get enough snow to cover the hydrants, we just send a couple of guys out on a detail to shovel a circle around them.

    We have done this as a training session by taking the whole dept out.
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    we do a detail to shovel if we get a fair amount of snow...then again my district only has 53 hydrants, a few hours work at most with a few crews out. we have also done the flair melt to get at the top nut enough to just flush it and let the water melt the snow. most of the hydrants around here blow rocks for a minute anyways so we have to flush real good!!

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