LAKE ARIEL – The Lake Ariel Volunteer Fire Company recently recognized an area resident for helping clear fire hydrants in The Hideout.
Ten-year-old Jackson Press cleared four hydrants in his neighborhood as a way of giving back to the neighborhood.
Upon finding out what Jackson was up to, Rescue Captain Chris DiPierro reached out to thank him.
“We appreciate all the help that we have been getting,” he said. “The citizens of our protection area are helping us out tremendously. They are saving us critical time.”
Jackson was invited to the fire station and was presented with a certificate of appreciation.
Jackson's dad, Randy Press, gave him the idea.
“I wanted him to do good for the community,” Randy said.
Jackson is also in Webelos 2 with Boy Scouts.
“Part of their motto is doing good for the community,” stated Randy.
He added that he's always helped clear fire hydrants.
“I always did it as a kid,” Randy said. “I knew it was important. I always try spreading the word [to help out].
“I want everyone to see the importance and urgency of doing it.”
This winter, Randy decided it was time to bring Jackson aboard.
“I told him to grab a shovel,” Randy said. “I showed him what to do, but he did most of the work.
“So many kids go home and play video games, but it's important to help the community. This is a priority before sledding.
“I'm trying to raise my children to pay it forward and do good for others. I'm raising them to be caring and compassionate of others.”
Randy added the Webelos are also taught to be a good person.
“I told Jackson we're going to own the hydrants for the rest of the winter,” Randy stated. “He enjoys the father/son time and doing good. He felt good about himself.”
He added that after finding out what Jackson did, his school made an announcement thanking Jackson for helping out the fire department.
“He felt he did something good,” Randy said. “Having students come up to thank him made him feel good too.
“I'm very proud of him and I'm glad he enjoyed it.”
Randy added they don't clear the hydrants for recognition, but because it's the right thing to do.
“It's one of those things we have to do [for the community,” he said. “It bothers me when people live by a hydrant and don't clear it. The firefighters work hard. Each minute counts.”
Randy added they'll continue to clear the fire hydrants in the future.
Why should fire hydrants be cleared of snow? DiPierro said it helps save time.
“That four to five minutes cleaning a hydrant now can be used on saving a life and/or property,” he said. “We would love to see a hydrant cleared of snow three feet on all sides.”
The fire company is looking at various ways they can get help with clearing hydrants.
“We are looking to implement the Adopt A Hydrant Program,” DiPierro stated. “Basically how it works is that a homeowner would be responsible for one hydrant throughout the winter.
“They will be responsible for digging out the hydrant after snow storms.”
He added the program is for local fire departments and is popular throughout the country.
“Another thing we are looking into is making this fun for children,” DiPierro said. “They help the Lake Ariel firefighters dig out hydrants for the winter and in return we will give them an appreciation party/dinner and a fire company T-shirt or 50/50 raffle.”
He added that clearing hydrants helps save lives.
“That one person who took four to five minutes digging out that fire hydrant potentially just saved a citizen's life, a firefighter's life or someone's home and property,” DiPierro stated. “Plus on the same hand they are giving back to the community.
“RS&W and The Hideout maintenance team have been going nonstop with clearing hydrants as well.
“They are doing a fantastic job in doing so, but we are going to have 400 plus hydrants in The Hideout community soon, so we need all the help we can get.”
The Hideout community is the only place in the fire company's service area that has fire hydrants.
DiPierro said they have to secure a water supply from lakes, ponds, streams and swimming pools if necessary.