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Middletown Fire Asks Residents to 'Adopt-a-Hydrant'

Middletown Fire Department asks residents to clear the area around a fire hydrant near their home.

Photo Credit: Olga Enger
Photo Credit: Olga Enger

In the event of a fire emergency during the winter months, could Middletown firefighters find the hydrant near your home? Or does it get buried under a snow pile? 

There are currently more than 400 fire hydrants in Middletown. After large snow storms Middletown firefighters regularly go out to inspect these hydrants and clear them of snow when necessary. To help make this practice more efficient the Middletown Fire Department is asking Middletown residents to assist firefighters with clearing the fire hydrant near their home.

This will ensure fire hydrants are visible and will greatly speed the response time in case of an emergency.

At a minimum, residents who have hydrants nearby are asked to make sure the hydrant is cleared of snow enough to make it visible from the street. Even better is to clear the snow 3 feet all around the hydrant so firefighters can easily connect a hose.


Stanley Martin December 21, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Enjoy the Tea Tom...
Tom December 21, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Way to go Stanley. That was a beautiful red herring. Take a bow.
B December 21, 2013 at 10:26 PM
Tom you haven't proven anything. And your viable alternatives have been proven wrong. Bristol is as close to similar to the town of Middletown as far as volunteer FD's go and their operating budget is MORE! Taxes have been held to near 0% increase over the last several years. The FD budget was $500,000 less this year than last. We NEED jobs. Unemployment is highest in RI than in the country. You are an extremist. You refuse to meet me half way. You live on an island. It's considered a luxury. Not everyone can buy a Mercedes either. It's considered a luxury. So maybe Middletown isn't for you. I'm for reduction in cost. But I'm REALISTIC in those thoughts. Yes, we can always be better. In some areas of the budget more so in others. But you are faaaaaaaar right here. And your arrogance of "having all the answers" isn't gonna get you anywhere. Because truthfully, pound for pound, you are getting the best product for the money, and we will just have to agree to disagree from this point. I can't discredit all of your points, but I've done my fair share to discredit a good portion of them with real facts. Happy Holidays, and good luck with your new year.
B December 21, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Oh, and Sandra, I learned today that those in Non-hydrant areas, in the past, opted out of bringing hydrants to that area for fear that if there was a municipal water supply the area would be over developed. So the choice was theirs, and they passed. Thank your neighbors!
J December 21, 2013 at 11:16 PM
Wow.... This article was a simple request to help out a bit and you guys have turned it into a pissing match about your own issues. Try staying on topic or take your bellyaching somewhere else.... Take the article for what is and leave it at that.
Tom December 22, 2013 at 02:37 AM
B, I appreciate your solutions to lowering our taxes. Wait a minute, on second thought, you've offered NOTHING. Happy Holidays, and good luck with your new year
R December 22, 2013 at 08:32 AM
Just a heads up. I worked for Medtech awhile back and I was started at $9 an hour as a basic. I also agree with B, although there were some very good emt b, c and paramedics there for the most part the people there didn't care. They were there for a check. And most of the good ones when I was there left because of the way the system ran. Right now in Middletown you have at most a six min response time to the farthest part of town for any emergency. When I was Medtech we would get dispatched to emergency calls for chest pain and difficulty breathing, mostly to retirement and nursing homes and they would be given 20+ min response times. We constantly told dispatchers that that was not appropriate and that 911 should be called and we were told to "shut up or quit". I left for a better job. Also just so you know and you can check with town hall Middletown emergency responders are making less now than they were 4 years ago because of pay cuts and "Union" consessions.
j January 03, 2014 at 10:32 PM
Lets get back to the original topic here: During this recent storm I noted that Newport Fire Department was out there shoveling their hydrants without any requests for "adopting a hydrant". The fire trucks were out there with guys, the ambulance had guys shoveling. Even several SUV's with one or two men. Who I think are officers that drive those SUV's. The citizens of Middletown have their own JOBS to go to in order to earn the money to pay taxes for the Fire fighters to do what they are suppose to do; Maintain access to the hydrants they will use if they are called upon. Its that simple. Hydrants are a component of the fire service. So the fire service should maintain access to them. The most important question here is. If Your asking citizens to adopt hydrants to clear of snow; what hydrants is the chief and the firefighters adopting after their work day to shovel? What next? The Public Work Division going to ask taxpayers to come in after their own jobs to plow the streets when the plow trucks operators are fatigued. Unreal....
Bill the 1st January 04, 2014 at 12:10 PM
You don't want to clear the hydrant. So don't clear the hydrant. If your house catches fire and burns to the ground, just stay warm and dry in the knowledge that you stuck to your principles that it should be someone else's job. Oh, and every time there is a heavy rain predicted in the Fall or Winter, DPW/DOT ask residents to clear storm drains of leaves and/or snow.
keith January 04, 2014 at 07:12 PM
I agree with *j*. You don't see Newport, Portsmouth, Tiverton, etc. asking for the tax payers to maintain the infrastructure on their own. I pay a water bill, and taxes for my home. Between the two organizations receiving my money they should be able to muscle up some manpower to clear them if need be. Bill I think you're missing the point here and the passion in your words is very peculiar. If the fire department is providing a service of fighting fires, and it takes water to get that done . Then the firefighters should be out there making sure they can get their job done. If that means shoveling hydrants so be it. I'm trying to understand why any taxpayer wouldn't agree with this thought. On another note *Bill*, I'm older and unable to shovel anymore and so are my neighbors. I guess I know what that means according to you.... The big question here : Why can our neighboring towns and cities get this done without help but in Middletown we're asked to adopt hydrants.
Robert E January 04, 2014 at 08:51 PM
How is this any different then having to shovel town sidewalks in front of your house? You can be fined if you don't shovel the sidewalk.
keith January 04, 2014 at 09:28 PM
In my opinion, the difference is the fire department's performance is directly related to them maintaining access to the hydrants.
Tom January 04, 2014 at 09:40 PM
Robert E, you are correct. There is no difference. In fact, give it time and the town will begin to ask residents to fill in the pot holes in front of their house. If you don't, you will be fined. It's all about fines and taxes. There is no difference.
Bill the 1st January 04, 2014 at 09:40 PM
Consider this: Full-on house fires rarely happen anymore. I'm not talking about a grease fire or a smoldering mattress from a careless smoker. I mean a full scale fire which requires multiple trucks and crews from neighboring communities. The biggest risk is in Winter when people are having fires in the fireplace. In the event of major snow, a couple things converge to increase the risk further. Snow increases response times for the Fire Dept. Snow may make properties inaccessible. Further, icing can make conditions even more hazardous to the fire fighters. So, say the power goes out and your heat goes out along with it. You start a fire in the fireplace which results in a chimney fire. With all the added little things that go along with a snow storm, do you really want the fire department to have to clear a hydrant of caked on, plowed up ice? Okay, so you feel it should be someone else's job. Fine. I accept that. I am a firm believer in people following through with their responsibilities. The problem is that they can't be everywhere instantly. The 5 minutes that it takes for someone already out shoveling the driveway/sidewalk may just save someone's property or, more importantly, someone's life. And Keith, if you are too old to shovel, I assume you have someone shoveling your driveway for you. Assuming there is a hydrant in front of your house, I would bet they would clear it for you for no additional fee. It's not like anyone is being asked to drive around town clearing hydrants because the FD and DPW are too lazy or incompetent to do it. It's, "If you can take five minutes to do it, that would be a huge help."
keith January 05, 2014 at 08:36 AM
*Bill* you can paint any picture you want here to help you justify your feelings. Point is that adopting hydrants is ridiculous. All I said here is that it should be done by the fire fighters. The other towns do it that way with out requests for help. I agree *Bill your right they can't be everywhere instantly. Some will be first and some will be last. Furthermore, the fire department is there 24/7 everyday and I would imagine that during these atypical snow storms extra help must be added to the staffing. why can't this be handled? I just don't understand why the other towns can get it done but in Middletown we are asked to adopt hydrants. The taxes are high enough here compared to the surrounding towns and now we're asked to "adopt hydrants." Maybe *tom is right, Pot Holes next???
j January 05, 2014 at 09:32 AM
You make a good observation Keith. With the "passion" in Bill's tone I'm assuming he's either a firefighter or he loves to shovel snow.... Of course in a major snow event risks increase. With any job, you inherit certain risks and responsibilities. If I smoke my whole life, guess what? My risk for lung cancer increases. I guess we'll agree to disagree. Which hydrants are you getting again? And Keith if you get that guy to shovel out your hydrant piled up with caked on frozen ice for free send him my way.
Robert E January 05, 2014 at 12:49 PM
Keith I do not know about Newport but I can tell yo Portsmouth FD does not shovel out hydrents that is done by the property owners or not done at all. I know when I was living in Fall River I had to shovel out the hydrent in frot of my house when it snowed. I have never seen a city or town where the firefighters shoveled out hydrents. The fact is most fire fighters are employed by the cities or towns and most hydernts do not belong to the towns or cities. Most hydrents belong to water authorities that are not part of the towns or cities. they are public utilites. you would not expect the fire dept to shovel out telephone poles would you.
B January 05, 2014 at 01:23 PM
That kinda proves his point further then. It's not his nor the fire dept's problem.
J January 05, 2014 at 01:46 PM
The hydrants are owned and maintained by Newport Water.
keith January 05, 2014 at 05:23 PM
US soldiers don't own their weapons either but their job includes shooting it and maintaining it. Only difference, if they choose not to maintain their weapon ( if that's even a choice ) and it jams the problem is really only his/hers in a gun fight. See my point? probably not... J I understand they are owned and maintained by the water department. I'm not talking about replacing a broken valve. I'm talking about access to it when it's needed by the FD. Hey if you guys want to shovel hydrants, shovel away I'm not stopping ya!
Tom January 05, 2014 at 05:40 PM
Great Point Keith. As far as I'm concerned, a Fire Hydrant, regardless of who owns it, is part of a Fireman's equipment. Without it, he becomes nothing more than an overpaid coach potato. Therefore, Firemen should maintain their equipment. Instead of playing horseshoes at MFD (Which I've seen with my own eyes) how about Firemen go out and shovel fire hydrants. All that said, it is kind of a silly argument: when is the last time a house burned to the ground because the hydrant was covered in snow? I don't know for sure, but I'd be willing to bet my quarterly tax bill that it was....never ago.
Stanley Martin January 06, 2014 at 04:03 PM
Tom and Keith are idiots yes I'll say it again IDIOTS. if you don't want to shovel do yourself a favor and don't shovel. You two clowns are beating a dead horse.
Tom January 06, 2014 at 05:31 PM
What's wrong Stanley? When you lose arguments do you always call people names? "Waaaa, my name is Stanley Martin, and everyone but me is an idiot...Waaaa. I'll teach you clowns a lesson, I'm going outside with a hair dryer to unfreeze my fire hydrant..Waaaaa".
keith January 06, 2014 at 07:10 PM
it makes too much sense Tom that's probably why Stanley is short circuiting.
Cletis January 07, 2014 at 10:10 AM
@Tom and Keith. Where to begin.....week it is a fact that the Middletown Fire dept DOES go out and shovel out the hydrants after snow storms. If you don't believe me fine, check it out for yourselves. But there is probably 400 plus hydrants in town and you could imagine how long it would take a handful of guys to shovel them all out. In a perfect world they would all be magically shoveled out 5 minutes after the snow ended but in fact it takes 10 or so guys a few days to get them all. All they asked is for some civic minded people to maybe lend a hand and make themselves and their neighbors safer. In my humble opinion the neighbor that beats me to the hydrant with the shovel is EXACTLY the kind of people we need in this town, not a typical bitter whiney old school Middletowner that does nothingbut complain about EVERTHING the town does. So like Stanley said, don't shovel out your hydrant. Jerk.
Tom January 07, 2014 at 11:00 AM
I see Cletis. So Keith and I should be good little citizens, never voice our opinion and do whatever the town tells us to do. After all, the town knows what's best for us. Like the Storm water runoff project on Easton's point. A failed project with cost overruns that doubled the price of the project to about $6 million, just so the Atlantic Beach Club can reign in record profits. That was a great use of our taxpayer dollars. But now thanks to your words of encouragement Cletis, I will change my ways and be a good little citizen that let government do what's best for me. I'm off to shovel my hydrant and fill pot holes. Have a nice day :)
Stanley Martin January 07, 2014 at 11:16 AM
Hey Tom you IDIOT. The town didn't tell you to do anything. The whole point which you missed out on because of your bashing the fire department was if you want to "help". Key word is help. Then help out, if not DONT. Why is this so hard for your idiotic (I said is again) brain to handle. There are many other town please leave if your that un happy.
Cletis January 07, 2014 at 06:17 PM
Tom you did a great job proving my point. Thanks. And I had great day. :-)
Tom January 07, 2014 at 07:31 PM
"Waaaaaaaaaa, I'm Stanley martin and everyone is an idiot and should leave my town. I'm the only one who is right. Waaaaaaa, Waaaaaaa, Waaaaaaaa. If you don't agree with me, you're an IDIOT and I'll say it again, IDIOT. Waaaaaa Waaaa Waaa."
Stanley Martin January 08, 2014 at 04:41 PM
Hahaha, tom is showing his true inner baby....

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