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Posted on: February 10, 2021

South Shore Fire Department Adopt-A-Hydrant Program

south shore fire department adopt-A-Hydrant Program

“They’re cold too, shovel them out!” - Volunteer to Keep It Clear

The South Shore Fire Department is launching a new safety program and needs your assistance! The recent snowfall has buried many of our fire hydrants, making it difficult for our firefighters to locate and access them during an emergency, when every second counts! The South Shore Fire Department is encouraging residents in the Mt. Pleasant, Sturtevant and Elmwood Park communities to sign up and Adopt a Hydrant to help keep us safe. 


 Participation in the Adopt-A-Hydrant program involves the following:

  • Ensure that the adopted fire hydrant is clearly visible from the street
  • Keep the fire hydrant free of snow and ice with clearances of at least 3 feet all around the hydrant.

How to Adopt

  1. Select a hydrant close to your home or business for convenience and safety. If you would like, you can name your hydrant in the email request for adoption. Have fun with this, but please be appropriate and respectful! 
  2. Send an email to with your information and the address of the hydrant that you would like to adopt.
  3. Send a photo showing that the hydrant has been cleared. A cleared hydrant is a happy hydrant! Once we receive the photo of the cleared hydrant we will send an email including a certificate of appreciation that can be printed. 
  4. Spread the word and encourage others to adopt hydrants near them!

Once we receive the photo of the cleared hydrant we will send an email including a certificate of appreciation that can be printed. This is great for counting towards merit badges or community service for school clubs. It also looks great on resumes as a civic activity!

As we endure the winter months continued participation is encouraged, but not required. Think of the adoption as seasonal. You are free to opt in or out of the program at any time.

Your Safety is #1!

Please ONLY shovel your hydrant if the conditions are safe to do so. You should be sure that you are completely visible and not in danger of being struck by a passing vehicle when working near the roadway. Also, be sure that you are physically able to clear the hydrant. You should NEVER put your safety or health in jeopardy when shoveling the hydrants.

If you are unable to shovel your hydrant due to health reasons, etc., attempt to educate your neighbors about the "Adopt a Hydrant" program and ask them for assistance. If you have a neighbor who is elderly or who otherwise cannot shovel a fire hydrant, please volunteer to help shovel the hydrant near their property.

When shoveling a fire hydrant, remember the "3 rules for 3 feet":

1. Access: When SSFD uses a hydrant, the "hydrant person" grabs a bag with tools, adapters and will utilize large supply hose in order to get the water to the fire engine. Having clear access to the hydrant reduces the time spent locating a buried hydrant or digging to get enough room to work.
2. Room to Work: When attaching adapters and "charging" or turning on the hydrant, tools have a tendency to fall and/or get lost in the snow. Three feet of clearance in all directions provides sufficient room for the firefighter to connect to the hydrant without losing equipment in the snow.
3. Safety: You may ask, "Why do I need to shovel the back of the hydrant?" When "charging" or turning on the hydrant, for safety reasons, the hydrant person MUST stand behind the hydrant. The hydrant person MUST NEVER stand in front of the hydrant or to the side of the hydrant. If a hydrant cap, coupling or adapter is not securely affixed or becomes damaged, the water pressure could blow the cap, coupling or adapter off, causing injury to the hydrant person. Once again, having complete clearance around the hydrant (front, both sides and BACK) is vital for proper and safe operations.

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