Yarmouth Public Works needs volunteers to shovel out the nearly 300 fire hydrants in town. File

YARMOUTH — As the first significant snowstorm of the season barreled into southern Maine this week the Public Works Department put out a call for help to clear almost 300 fire hydrants scattered around town.

Ensuring the hydrants are accessible is critical to public safety, according to Public Works Director Erik Street, who is asking for volunteers to sign up for Yarmouth’s adopt-a-hydrant program.

“The town’s Public Works and Fire/Rescue departments can’t get to all the hydrants after every storm, so volunteers are a tremendous help,” Street said. “Fire hydrants that are buried in snow can cause dangerous delays for fire crews … you can help by adopting a hydrant and volunteering to keep it clear of snow this winter.”

Volunteers are asked to remove snow and ice from hydrants and clear a 3-foot perimeter after each winter storm and also clear a path from the hydrant to the street.

Street said the town would like all adopted hydrants to be cleared within 24 hours after each storm. In all, there are 291 hydrants in town that need to be shoveled out.

Contact Public Works at 846-2401 or [email protected] to sign up or for more information about the adopt-a-hydrant program. Also, see yarmouth.me.us for an online version of the town’s winter operations newsletter.

“Having clear and immediate access to a fire hydrant can make a critical difference in the event of a fire, so it’s certainly to an individual’s or homeowner’s benefit to clear the hydrant in front of, or near, their homes and businesses,” he said. “In adopting a hydrant, volunteers not only help public works crew but also … provide a valuable service for all citizens in town. It’s important for hydrants to remain cleared so that fire-rescue crews can access them in an emergency.”

Street said volunteers can choose the hydrant or hydrants they’re willing to be responsible for. In the past couple years, he said, about 20 people in town have volunteered to clear one or two hydrants each winter, “but we’re always looking for as many volunteers as possible.”

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