Hydrants are often taken for granted or viewed as an eyesore or an inconvenience — until the time comes when we need them to be accessible. Having timely, efficient access to a water supply is critically important for fighting fires. The longer it takes to access the supply, the quicker a fire can spread and the more dangerous it will be for responders and residents. Obstructions cause unnecessary delays when firefighters are forced to take time to locate hidden hydrants, slowing their response.
Newport is experiencing a “growing problem” around our fire hydrants: Many of them are hidden by weeds, shrubbery, flowerbeds, posts, fences, and other obstructions. Residents are urged to check to see if they had a hydrant in their front yard or somewhere on their property or the adjacent right-of-way, and keep it free of vegetation, shrubbery, and other obstructions.
Newport’s Municipal Code states: “Owners of property shall maintain an unobstructed access area within eight feet of any fire hydrant. No vegetation over six inches in height, fence, wall or other obstruction is permitted in the unobstructed access area.” (NMC 9.35.015). Violations are subject to citation by the Newport Police Department. Remember, spending a few minutes clearing around that fire hydrant could save a house, or a life.