Red fire hydrants are common sights along streets in Holyoke.
"People do take them for granted, and the average person never has to use them in their life," said Lt. Thomas Paquin of the Holyoke Fire Department.
However, when a fire starts, their function can mean the difference between life and death.
With February's big snowfall, many of these important lifelines in Holyoke and other communities across Western Massachusetts have been blocked by snow.
"Valuable time is lost when trying to shovel out the hydrant before the guys can really tie into the hydrant to work on a fire," Paquin said.
Since many of the city's fire hydrants are still clogged by snow, the Holyoke Fire Department has been encouraging the public to help clear off the city's hydrants.
Fire officials have some advice about how much room you should leave when clearing off a hydrant.
"Probably a 5' diameter is good. A good time to get it is when the snow is still soft," Paquin said.
Fire hydrants aren't the only objects that need clearing off.
Paquin told CBS 3 that cleaning out direct vents for furnaces and water heaters is also crucial to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.
Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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