ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Tamaqua resident Joe Ciambruschini shovels a path to a fire hydrant. Local fire departments always encourage residents to keep all fire hydrants clear of snow, as well as provide a path from the street to the hydrant. In most communities, local volunteer firefighters or town workers usually take on the time-consuming task. Seconds count when responding to a fire or disaster. Plow trucks and snow blowers may unintentionally cover hydrants, even after they've already been shoveled. This will drastically slow down a fire company's response time. Hydrants and small clearances around them are community property. That fact shouldn't stop anyone from removing snow, even if the hydrant is not on their property. Firefighters respond with a limited number of volunteers and everyone's function is vital in the first few minutes of a fire.