by April Scheinoha
555. That’s the number of fire hydrants in the city of Thief River Falls, and one never knows when a fire hydrant will be needed.
As the snow piles up, the Thief River Falls Fire Department reminds residents to clear snow away from fire hydrants located near their properties.
Firefighters periodically check to ensure fire hydrants are easily accessible and remove snow and ice if needed. “We get to know the ones that are real trouble spots,” said Co-Fire Chief Marty Semanko.
If a Thief River Falls property owner is unable to remove snow or ice near a fire hydrant, the person should call the Fire Hall at 681-3943.
Semanko also reminds residents to clear snow away from their furnace vents. The fire department has already received several calls regarding carbon monoxide detectors being activated in homes. In some cases, the detector has helped identify a furnace in need of repair or replacement.
Winter weather leads to some added precautions for local firefighters. Thief River Falls firefighters drain the fire hydrants in the fall to prevent excess water from freezing. Firefighters are also aware of the next available fire hydrant in the event they encounter a frozen fire hydrant while responding to a fire.
Thief River Falls firefighters also ensure that the firefighting equipment is ready. Every Tuesday, the firefighters check all of the fire trucks, making sure they work and are stocked appropriately.
While responding to fires, they keep an eye on the firefighting equipment and each other. As less water is needed to fight a blaze, they make sure they pack up any unnecessary hoses and place the hoses in a warm setting.
The firefighters also watch out for each other. Personnel rotate in and out of vehicles while fighting fires on especially cold days. Firefighters also remind each other to pack extra socks, gloves, hats and hoods.
by April Scheinoha