DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) -- The winter storm on Monday brought slowdowns for everyone, including the De Pere Fire Department.
"We can't get to an emergency just as quick as if the roads were clear," said Eric Johnson, Assistant Chief of Fire Safety and Training at the De Pere Fire Department.
A blanket of snow covered roadways, sidewalks and fire hydrants. More than 1,300 fire hydrants scatter the City of De Pere with at least one in every neighborhood.
"Our policy is typically not to do any snow removal around the hydrants. We ask that adjacent property owners would do an 'adopt-a-hydrant,'" said Scott Thoresen, Director of Public Works for the City of De Pere. "So, the snow that is around the fire hydrant shovel or snowblow it so that there is easier access for the fire department."
Although there is no ordinance requiring people to clear fire hydrants, the De Pere Fire Department says taking an extra five minutes to shovel a three-foot clearance saves them time when they need it most.
"We consider seconds to be a value to us," said Johnson. "We do not want to take additional time away from getting to the scene quickly, getting inside the house if it is on fire, getting to those victims who may not be able to get out on their own."
It is a task city officials ask people to do sooner rather than later.
"If the snowbank is there and you don't remove it, and the cold temps move in like they're talking the next couple of days, that snowbank hardens, and it actually gets a little more difficult to remove the snow," said Thoresen.
"It puts our minds at ease knowing we can find them quickly when we need to," said Johnson.