Many fire hydrants in St. John's have been buried in snow, prompting fire officials to adopt backup plans to deal with emergencies.

St. John's Regional Fire Department Chief Mike Dwyer said some temporary measures are in place until hydrants are cleared of snow and ice that have accumulated during recent storms.

"We carry steel-nosed shovels, we've put a third engine on the run for any potential structure fires, and of course we've got access to the municipalities' maintenance people in case we run into trouble trying to clear a hydrant out," Dwyer told CBC News.

The fire department is also carrying an additional 1,800 gallons of water on an extra pumper truck, in case a hydrant cannot be used.

St. John's broke a record for December for the amount of snow on the ground at one time, and a blizzard is expected to hit the city area on Friday.

Area residents like Frank Pennell are concerned.

"(Clearing hydrants) should be a priority," he said.

"They should have been at that the first thing. When it snows so much and rains after, the bottom just turns to ice. They've got to get at that because if a fire happens ... ."