Southwick Fire addresses winter hazards

SOUTHWICK – Weather hazards can be an issue throughout the winter so Southwick Fire Chief Russ Anderson wants to remind people about taking the right precautions in order to avoid any fire-related incidents from happening.

One important issue fire departments face is access to hydrants. While our area has not received as much snow as in year’s past or as some weather forecasters may have predicted this year, according to Anderson, “having access to the hydrants is key.”

When fire hydrants are buried under snow it can cause them to freeze up and become inoperable. Home and business owners are urged to keep hydrants accessible by clearing out a three foot area around any hydrants near owned property.

“The mechanics (in the fire hydrant) won’t work because it’s so cold,” said Anderson.

Southwick Fire Chief Russ Anderson talks about the potential hazards (WNG File Photo)

Fortunately, the Southwick Fire department did not have to respond to any fire-related calls over this past snowy weekend, however, firefighters always have to be prepared to attend to a covered or non-working fire hydrant.

“Unfortunately, it gets you when you least expect it,” said Anderson.

Another concern for Anderson during the winter are pipes freezing in homes during the extreme cold temperatures. Frozen pipes can lead to pipes bursting possibly resulting in extensive water damage. He mostly points to common sense as the main solution.

“These are extreme conditions, so sometimes you have to keep your heat warmer,” said Anderson.

Other potential hazards during the winter that Anderson pointed out includes making sure all objects are a minimum of three feet away from space heaters and heat stoves. Snow should also be kept away from any vents from a home including fireplaces, chimneys, heating and hot water systems, and laundry dryers.

For questions about maintaining fire safety and preventing hazards, contact the Southwick Fire Department at 413-569-5348.

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