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Editorial: Residents should shovel around fire hydrants; Lake Geneva right to require it

It’s November and it’s that time of year when, like it or not, the little white stuff starts to make an appearance.

On Nov. 12, for a few hours Lake Geneva turned into a real snow globe as the area was hit with the first snow fall of the season. The ground was warm enough that nothing accumulated, but, as we all know, it’s only a matter of time before we are buried in a few feet of snow.

To prepare for the snow, Lake Geneva aldermen have again started talking about the city’s snow removal ordinances.

Currently, property owners with a sidewalk are required to shovel the sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of snow storm to clear the way for people to walk.

There is also a proposal on the table to require property owners to clear the snow from around fire hydrants within 24 hours of the end of a snow storm or face citations.

It’s a pain to shovel, but clearing out the fire hydrants is a matter of public safety. It only makes sense to include fire hydrant shoveling into the city’s snow ordinance.

When there is a fire no one wants the fire department to have to spend valuable time locating a fire hydrant or shoveling it out.

When emergencies happen, the crews need immediate access to the fire hydrants because minutes matter. It can be the difference between a small kitchen fire and a building being a total loss if the fire spreads during those precious minutes.

Employees from the city’s water department currently are responsible for removing snow from the hydrants. Utility Commission Director Josh Gajewski said the department has four employees to remove snow from about 650 fire hydrants. That is a lot of fire hydrants for each employee and removing snow from around fire hydrants is not their sole full-time job.

Lake Geneva is right to require residents to shovel out fire hydrants – something everyone should do even if their communities don’t have an ordinance requiring it. It’s the right thing to do.

The Regional News editorial board consists of General Manager Robert Ireland, Editor Stephanie Jones, and community members Patrick Quinn, Elizabeth Lupo DiVito and Steve Romani.

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