Madison Fire Department Offers Tips for Staying Safe, Healthy Through Winter Storm

Monday, February 1, 2016 - 11:47am

Keep Snow Away From Hydrants, Furnace Vents

As Wisconsin braces for “Groundhog Blizzard II,” the City of Madison Fire Department reminds residents to take small steps that will lead to big payoffs when it comes to health and safety:

  • Keep Hydrants Accessible: Maintain at least a three-foot path around your fire hydrant(s). This gives firefighters room to work and provides quick access in an emergency. If a hydrant is buried in snow, firefighters lose valuable time trying to locate and utilize it when they first arrive at a fire. 
  • Clear Your Furnace and Water Heater Vents: Blocked pipes can shut down the furnace or water heater and possibly lead to a carbon monoxide buildup inside the home. Be sure your home is equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm. Wisconsin state law requires an alarm in any dwellings with fuel burning appliances, fireplaces, or attached garages. Alarms must be installed in the basement and on each floor.
  • Keep Snow and Ice Away From Gas Meters: MFD and MGE remind residents to keep the area around gas meter equipment clear of snow and ice. Any heavy snow and ice that could fall on the meter from above should be removed to avoid potential equipment damage and a gas leak. Snow and ice on the meter should be carefully moved by hand to avoid any damage that could be caused by a shovel.
  • Take Breaks: As you’re keeping walkways, hydrants, and vents clear, avoid overexertion and a possible cardiac incident by taking several breaks. This is especially important when shoveling wet and heavy snow.

The Madison Fire Department asks everyone to be a good neighbor to those who may not be able to tend to the hydrants, gas meters, and vents around their home. Please consider adopting a fire hydrant close to you and keeping it clear of snow throughout the winter.

If you see a damaged hydrant or water flowing down the street, call the Water Utility’s emergency dispatcher at 266-4661 to report the problem.

If you suspect a gas leak inside or outside your home, leave the area immediately and call MGE at 252-1111.