Fire hydrants buried in snow

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BISMARCK, N.D. - With all the snowfall in Bismarck, the Fire Department is doing their best to keep all 4,500 fire hydrants clear.

During an emergency response, shoveling snow to attach a hose can take minutes that firefighters just can't spare.

Firefighters have spent many hours this week doing what volunteers could do instead. There are maps to keep track of all the hydrants in the city and the department is encouraging volunteers to seek out hydrants close to them to clear snow.

Fire Marshal Owen Fitzsimmons said, "What we've indicated here with the highlighter is some of the areas where firefighters have already been out digging hydrants."

The time it takes to connect a hose to the hydrant can be around two minutes, but snow blocking access increases that time. Keeping up with the snow is proving to be a challenge.

"The fire department is very appreciative of those who have kicked in and helped us out over the course of the winter. We know there's a lot of people out there who have been taking the time to pay some attention to those fire hydrants in their areas and we greatly appreciate that," said Fitzsimmons.