Another childhood memory was a fire at a relatives’ house and the firemen had to chop the snow and ice with their axes in order to get to the hydrant. Snowplows clearing the streets a few days before had packed the snow around the hydrant. With the freezing temperatures in the days that followed, the snow acquired a rock-like density. Clearing the snow took several minutes, delayed putting out the fire and the house was a total loss. Had the hydrant been clear when the firemen arrived, I think they could have saved much more of the house.
My current home in Cleveland Heights is at the low end of our street and has both a fire hydrant and a storm sewer grate out front. During a heavy rain, water will collect in the street and flood the tree lawns if the grates are blocked with leaves or litter. So there’s more an ulterior motive than some sense of civic duty that I make sure the sewer grate is kept clean. It’s to keep my yard from being flooded. During the winter months, I keep the hydrants at home and at my office cleared. The thought of losing the house because the hydrant is blocked is enough motivation for me and it only takes a minute-or-two to do the job.
So, if you have either sewer grate, a hydrant or both on your property, get out there and spend a little time cleaning them up. The property you save from damage may be your own. Besides, I’d like to think Lenny and the Pastor would be proud of us.