After this week’s big storm, the Evanston Fire Department is looking for help in making sure all fire hydrants are accessible.

Clearing snow from a hydrant outside fire headquarters. (Evanston Fire Department photo)

The city has nearly 1,400 fire hydrants and many apartment complexes have private fire hydrants.

Firefighters are out removing snow around fire hydrants, and they’d like some help.

The department is encouraging residents to informally “adopt” a fire hydrant near their home and keep snow shoveled away from it during the winter season.

That way if there’s a fire, firefighters won’t have to spend critical time locating and digging out the hydrant before starting to fight the fire.

But the Health Department says whether you’re shoveling out a hydrant or your walk, you should take care.

Cold weather itself, without any physical exertion, puts an extra strain on your heart so know your limits when shoveling snow, especially if you do not exercise regularly.

If you have a history of heart trouble or any chronic health concerns, talk to your health care provider before shoveling snow.

You should rest frequently and pace yourself when shoveling. If you use a snow blower, never use your hands to unclog the machine.

If you become breathless, stop, go indoors and warm up before continuing. If you experience chest or arm pain or numbness, stop immediately and go indoors; you may need to call 911. Over-exertion can cause sore muscles, falls and heart attacks.

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