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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s the message the Springfield Fire Department wants to communicate regarding the need to keep fire hydrants visible and clear of landscaping and overgrown grass.
A fire this morning on East Southview is a stark reminder of this adage because fire crews were unable to locate the nearest hydrant, requiring them to locate a different hydrant farther away. The house suffered significant damage.
“To me, a fire hydrant is a symbol of history, character, and safety and security. I don’t understand why many want to hide them behind landscaping, particularly when it can have serious consequences,” says Fire Chief David Hall.
Or, as Fire Marshal Epps puts it, “the eyesore isn’t the hydrant, it’s a burned-out home.”
The department has the following reminders for those with hydrants on their property:
• Hydrants must not be camouflaged or disguised in any manner.• No plants or grasses are to be planted around hydrants.• Fences and other objects must be at least three feet from hydrants.• Hydrants are not to be repainted except by authorized personnel and only the approved color for the location of that hydrant.• Emergency personnel and those with metered devices are authorized to operate hydrants.• Notify authorities if you suspect unauthorized use of a hydrant.
The color of the paint indicates whether it is a public or private hydrant. Firefighters are trained to look for specific colors during an emergency.
"When it’s dark and flames are shooting in the air, there are a million things going through the firefighters' minds about what they need to do," Hall added. "The ability to quickly locate a hydrant can mean the difference between saving a home or not. Possibly even a life. Fortunately, in this case, everyone was able to escape the home.”
As City Utility crews flush hydrants, or as they are reported, any vegetation that obscures hydrants will be removed. Hydrants that are not painted the authorized color will be repainted.
Fire officials ask residents to ensure the hydrants in their area are clear of obstructions and painted the appropriate color. Residents that have hydrants in need of service can contact City Utilities at 417-831-8393.
For more information and example locations, contact: Assistant Fire Chief Randy Villines at 417-864-1527.