NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

January 8, 2014

Take a few minutes and shovel out fire hydrants

To the editor:

An article on page 1 of the Jan. 4 edition of The Daily News describes Newburyport’s Fire Department successful containment of a fire in a home on Vernon Street. The reporter notes that “firefighters had to search for hydrants, as they hadn’t yet been shoveled out.” This obviously delayed the firefighters in their efforts to knock down the fire. The homeowners were lucky that the delay didn’t result in greater damage.

Going back more than 50 years, when I lived in one of the towns west of Boston, homeowners regularly shoveled out the hydrants protecting their homes and those of their neighbors, often before shoveling their own driveways completely clear. I don’t understand why that isn’t standard practice around here. Maybe homeowners, as taxpayers, go on the theory that they are entitled to have the city or town employees do the shoveling. They are “entitled,” and the city and towns, even with their shrunken budgets and staffs, will eventually get round to it. But fires don’t wait on the convenience of entitled taxpayers.

It takes only five or 10 minutes to shovel out a hydrant. That short span of time could save a house, or even a life.

Peter L. Albrecht

Newbury

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