HORSEHEADS, NY (WENY) -- We saw our first significant snowfall of the year and that means the fire hydrant closest to your house may be covered with snow. We visited Town and Country Fire Department to find out how digging it out while you're shoveling will help if there's an emergency. 

We spoke with Chief of Fire Don Fisher earlier this afternoon about the impact a snow covered fire hydrant has in the event of a fire. Don says, if you don't dig out your fire hydrant, then it puts a burden on his crew to clear it out and they might not even see it.

"They might not even know that there is a fire hydrant there. We have locations and we know where some of them are, but it's not like you have it drilled in the back of your mind. We know we're going up the street there's a fire hydrant there, but the exact location, might not and they might stop some place and start digging and there's not hydrant and it could be two houses up. So, hit and miss and if you miss it, it doesn't look good and if there was anyway that you dug it out we know it's there, we know its dug out and we don't have to guess where the hydrant is," said Don.

He also says, if you don;t clear out the hydrant then the burden is put on his crew which wastes time that they could be using to save you and your family.

"Well, if you don't dig out your fire hydrant it's going to put a burden on us to have to do it because we carry water on our trucks but it's a limited supply and you go through a lot faster. So it's really serious to dig out your fire hydrant so we don't have to do it."

Don also says, "If we had to do it and say we had to use two or three guys it's going to take three minutes to clear that out well the size of the fire will more than double within that three minute period. So, there's wasted time where people could be extinguishing the fire and do whatever they have to do, because they had to dig out a fire hydrant."

How much space should you give the fire hydrant however, well Don says at least three feet, but to also make a pathway to the road

"The minimal would be three feet all the way around your fire hydrant, but what people forget, they'll dig the three feet or more around the hydrant but also dig an access to the road because out truck is still on the road and we have to lay the hose to the fire hydrant. So, you want to dig a three foot circumference around it and to the road." 

Digging out your fire hydrant will same firefighters time and could one day save your life.