North Dakota winters give the Fire Department a whole new playing field when it comes to first response. A North Dakota fireman spoke about some of the difficulties the cold weather brings to the job.
North Dakota Fire Departments encourage residents to “adopt a fire hydrant.”
John Gustafson: “The adopt a fire hydrant program is important because we need access to that water and we need it in a hurry. And if the hydrant is obstructed, we can’t get it. “
Gustafson is a firefighter in Bismarck. He says with the snowfall the state normally sees, there are many new factors to consider.
John Gustafson: “In the event of a large, you know, snow storm, hydrants become buried. We can’t find them. We can’t find them when we need them most.”
He says with the temperatures dropping in the next week, water freezing can be another serious issue.
John Gustafson: “We’ll uh, we’ll crack a valve or we’ll open the bail on the nozzle so that it’s continuing to flow water so it doesn’t freeze up on us. Because that can be a problem too. That nozzle can freeze up, that hose can freeze up.”
Gustafson tells us what the fire department expects of those who decide to adopt a hydrant.
John Gustafson: “We’re looking for a minimum of three feet and, you know, dig it down so we can get to the hydrant caps so we can get to the connections… I don’t think it’d take very long…”
Gustafson gave additional cold weather tips, including installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home, check the batteries on all detecting devices in your home, keep three feet surrounding space heaters clear, and keep exhaust vents unobstructed.