Nova Scotia

Some fire hydrants may be buried in snow for 2 weeks, Halifax Water says

Halifax Water is responsible for digging out the nearly 8,300 hydrants it owns, but it will take your help, if you're offering.

Utility focusing on digging out hydrants near schools, hospitals and senior homes

Halifax Water says it could take two weeks to uncover the thousands of fire hydrants it owns. The utility is encouraging citizens to pitch in. (Halifax Water)

Crews from Halifax Water will be removing snow near fire hydrants this weekend, but a spokesman for the utility estimates it could be up to two weeks until they're fully cleared.

"It's going to take a while; it's a lot of snow," said James Campbell.

He said the utility is trying to move in closely behind the city's snow clearing efforts.

"The snow comes down, the plows push it around, they bury the hydrants. People who are digging out their driveways bury the hydrants," he said.

8,300 hydrants

Campbell said the utility is responsible for digging out the nearly 8,300 hydrants it owns.

Crews are focusing on priority areas near schools, hospitals and senior homes.

When possible, Campbell is encouraging people to pick up a shovel and help out.

"They're not obliged to but it would certainly be helpful if they can chip in," he said, directing people to the Halifax Water app to locate their nearest fire hydrant.

Snowy streets a tight squeeze for fire trucks

Deputy Chief Roy Hollett of the Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency said snow piles are making it difficult for fire trucks to manoeuvre city streets and is asking people to stagger their parked vehicles.

There's a hydrant in there somewhere. Halifax Water is responsible for digging out the nearly 8,300 hydrants it owns. (Halifax Water)

He said the streets are already narrowed by snow accumulation, and people parking on both sides of the street make it nearly impossible for trucks to pass.

Hollett said fire trucks need three metres in width. In one case, he said, firefighters stopped and individually pushed in people's car mirrors on a street before passing by.

"It's that tight," he said.

The fire department hasn't been called to any structure fires since the storm, said Hollett.

He said firefighters are trained to access hydrants further from an emergency if nearby hydrants are buried.

Since Monday's blizzard, the department is responding to a higher number of motor vehicle accidents, medical calls for chest pain and security alarms in buildings being falsely activated, he said.