RACINE -- After a weekend snowstorm and more on the way, officials with the Racine Fire Department on Monday, Jan. 21, asked for the community's help.
Officials asked residents to please shovel out their fire hydrants. They asked for the snow within three feet around the hydrant be removed to facilitate quicker access to water that is used for firefighting. They said having an accessible fire hydrant significantly improves the time it takes to get water to the engine, and subsequently, on the fire.
Southern counties like Kenosha and Racine got 10 inches of snow with the weekend storm.
"Back in the old days, fire doubled every minute. In today's environment, with what we're putting in our home product-wise, the new foam mattresses, those burn with higher and greater intensity," said Lt. John Magnus.
Magnus said while the fire engines do have a 500-gallon tank, the water only lasts for a couple of minutes before they have to utilize a hydrant. Precious minutes are lost when firefighters have to clear snow and ice.
"We're asking the community to cooperate moving forward with the weather we have expected -- to get out there and shovel the hydrants to make our job a little bit easier. It just enables us to get the water faster to the fire engine to get the fire out," said Magnus.
Also, officials reminded residents to only use space heaters while you are awake. They said you should plug the space heater directly into the outlet and unplug the heater when it is not in operation. Remember to keep a three-foot area around the space heater clear. Also, remember that ovens and stoves are not designed to heat your home, condo, or apartment.
Fire officials said you should also be sure to check your smoke detector frequently, as fires tend to occur between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. -- when you're likely asleep.
If you have any questions, you are urged to contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 262-635-7915.