Searching for Frozen Fire Hydrants 

WILLIAMSPORT -- They're not on an emergency call, but what Williamsport firefighters are doing work that could help in an emergency.

"The weather depicts it. I mean if we have a real mild winter, we don't go out as much, but a winter like this where it's extremely cold, we have to stay out there and stay ahead of it," said James Baker.

Firefighter James Baker is talking about staying ahead of freezing water lines that could cause fire hydrants to ice up and stop working.

"I mean if they are frozen, it doesn't do us any good. We're behind the 8-ball as it is when we get called to a house fire, so every second counts," said Baker.

During the winter, Baker and other firefighters use a weight on the end of a string to check if the hydrants are wet and at risk of freezing.

"We put it in. Let it go all the way to the bottom and let it come back out,” said Baker. "If it has more than three to six inches of water in it we go ahead and pump it to make sure it doesn't freeze," Baker continued.

Firefighters are in charge of nearly 800 hydrants around the city, but community members can help out by clearing the space around the hydrants of snow or trash, especially during the winter months.

If firefighters find a frozen hydrant during an emergency, Chief Todd Heckman tells us they have a plan.

"We get to the point where some hydrants don't even open. They may have frozen that far deep. Boom we go to the next hydrant but then that's time you just lost," said Chief Todd Heckman.

It's why department members plan to continue to check the weather and the hydrants in Williamsport.

"We are expecting some really bad temperatures or some really low temperatures. Kurt Aaron, get it right tonight!” said Heckman.