I married into to a family of first responders, so I've learned more than I could have ever imagined I would about public and personal safety and one of those things echoed what I was taught growing up- the importance of keeping fire hydrants clear of snow.

As Winter Storm Stella bore down on us yesterday, my husband and I took our toddler out to help remove snow from around the fire hydrants up and down our street, which is exactly what both my husband and I did with our parents from the time we were old enough to walk.

Traci Taylor

A lot of people don't think about clearing snow from around the fire hydrants in their neighborhood, especially when they're feeling overwhelmed with the task of trying to shovel out buried vehicles, but every second is precious when it comes to fighting a fire. By taking a couple minutes to clear out the snow around your fire hydrant, it could mean the difference between life and death.

According to my husband’s uncle, Jeffrey Wentworth, retired fire chief with the Collegeville, PA Fire Department, and current Collegeville Emergency Management Coordinator, sometimes the snow is so deep that it can make it almost impossible for fire crews to find a hydrant, especially in the dark of night. Additionally, if the hydrant is covered in ice, even more, valuable time is lost when there's a fire and firefighters have to focus their efforts on uncovering a fire hydrant.

So the moral of the story is this- by taking a couple of minutes to remove the snow from your fire hydrant, you’re not only helping our local fire departments, but you’re helping to prevent waste of time that could mean the difference between life and death.

Traci Taylor