Algonquin leaders need you to be the eyes in the back of their heads when it comes to keeping the village's fire hydrants safe and visible for firefighters.
The village launched its Adopt-A-Hydrant program earlier this week, which calls on residents to keep nearby hydrants clear of snow in the winter, free of weeds and shrubbery in the warmer months and to report leaks, missing caps and other damage year-round.
When a hydrant is covered in snow, firefighters spend extra time locating them and another four to six minutes getting rid of snow before they can use them, officials said.
"We have over 2,200 hydrants in town and when we get snow covers like this last storm, it's very hard to get around to clearing the hydrants just by the quantity," said Andrew Warmus, the village's utilities superintendent.
Just three people have signed up for the program since it launched Tuesday, Warmus said. The village falls within the Algonquin-Lake in the Hills Fire Protection District, the Huntley Fire Protection District and the Carpentersville and Countryside Fire Protection District.
If you opt to participate in the program, a three-foot area around the hydrant should be cleared of weeds and shrubbery. In the winter, the same area should be free of snow and you should shovel a path from the road or the sidewalk leading to the hydrant. You should report damaged hydrants online.
The fire district will continue to monitor the hydrants in larger commercial areas, such as Algonquin Commons, Warmus said.
In the past, the fire district and public works staff monitored the hydrants on their own. The aim is to free up staff time as well, Warmus said.
"We will still do it, but if there's less hydrants for us to clear ... it's much better for us as well," Warmus said.