Residents urged to clear hydrants, home exhaust vents following Nor’easter

The heavy snow that fell across western Massachusetts raises some safety concerns for many in the community.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 1:47 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The heavy snow that fell across western Massachusetts raises some safety concerns for many in the community.

“Fire doubles in size every 30 seconds, so having a delay, where we can’t access a fire hydrant due to being blocked by snow, can be devastating,” said Chicopee Fire Capt. Katie Collins-Kalbaugh.

Collins-Kalbaugh told us how small steps like clearing a fire hydrant and shoveling or checking carbon monoxide detectors can save lives.

“Shoveling the sidewalks not only helps prevent slips and falls when people are walking, but it also creates a pathway if we ever need to respond to a home for an emergency, they are shoveled for us and we have a quicker access to the home,” Collins-Kalbaugh added.

Garry Lambert of Chicopee cleared the snow from his driveway on Tuesday and he told us he makes sure to clean around the fire hydrant near his house, just in case firefighters need to get to it.

“I just want to make sure that it is ready to go if there is an emergency,” Lambert said.

When clearing off your fire hydrants, you want to make sure you shovel 36 inches all around the hydrant. Collins-Kalbaugh told us that residents also need to clear snow from their outside vents, so they aren’t blocked and cause a buildup of carbon monoxide.

“A colorless, odorless, poisonous gas and it is the leading cause of poisoning around the country, so again, keeping those vents clear and having working smoking and carbon monoxide alarms are very important,” Collins-Kalbaugh explained.

Her final bit of advice to the community is to check and maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

“We just had the time change. We were asking the community to check your smoke and [carbon monoxide] alarms and see if they are working. If not, local fire departments and the American Red Cross have programs where we will come out and change batteries and give you new carbon monoxide alarms because we really believe in the safety of the members in the community,” Collins-Kalbaugh said.