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The winners of the Long Lake Fire Department’s photo contest, where residents were asked to assit with fire hydrant clearing in order for easier access. (Submitted photos)

Residents of Long Lake showed off their fun times in the snow by submitting photos of cleared fire hydrants to the Long Lake Fire Department.

The fire department took to Facebook to get more people involved and to create awareness for a chore that’s often forgotten. Residents submitted photos of themselves clearing snow away from fire hydrants and three winners received a $25 gift card to Domino’s Pizza for their “snow shoveling skills.”

“The more snow we get, the harder it is for your fire department to find the fire hydrants when they arrive on scene. Some hydrants have flags on them to help first arriving crews find the hydrants faster. But, locating the hydrants on scene is only part of the situation,” Long Lake Fire Captain Scott Spinks said.

According to the UL Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI), a fire doubles every 30 to 60 seconds. Spinks adds that homes built generations ago use solid timber materials, which burned slower and gave the department more time. Modern homes are typically made of medium-density fiberboard and are glued and held together with petroleum products, making them less resistant to fire and they will burn faster. He also adds this situation is similar with furniture as well.

“Modern furniture is made of plastics and synthetics that take only a fraction of the time to burn, as compared to older furniture. The combination of new construction materials and new furnishings allow a “modern material” home to burn as much as 10-times faster than a “legacy style” home,” he said.

Once on a scene, a firefighter can spend approximately two minutes shoveling out a fire hydrant, which means the size of the fire can increase four or more times the size from when the department first arrived.

After large snowfalls, the department and city workers have gone around and dug out the hydrants; however, Spinks said it can be difficult to get to every hydrant.

“As a favor, we are asking our community members to help us out. We ask that residents in our call areas of Orono, Long Lake, Medina and Minnetonka Beach “adopt” a fire hydrant and keep it clear for us through the winter,” he said.

“Adopting” a fire hydrant means when there is significant snowfall, residents would take their shovels and dig out a fire hydrant next to their home.

“This way, we can all rest assured that if the moment comes when there is a fire on your street, the hydrant will be visible and accessible for our fire crews,” Spinks said.

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