|Save the Date for Winter 2013's Adopt-A-Hydrant Program|
In January 2012, Mayor Thomas M. Menino launched the 2012 Adopt-A-Hydrant program,
first-of-its-kind effort, designed to tap into community spirit.
The Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics is responsible for preparing
this digital application for its use in the 2013 winter season.
Be alert to the next announcement expected some time in January.
Take the time now to explore how it works and get ready to sign up.
What was once the baileywick of our four-footed friends (dogs) is now open to Boston's best two-footed friends (humans).
Adopt-A-Hydrant provides a website (boston.adoptahydrant.org) where
residents can volunteer to take on the wintry task of shoveling out hydrants in their
neighborhoods - the ones they have officially adopted.
While the Boston Fire Department will continue to lead the effort to
shovel out the City’s more than 13,000 hydrants, it is important to
consider how critical the fire hydrants are in the overall safety of
the city. In 2011, the Boston Fire Department responded to 5,653
fires,so the SAFER approach is to guarantee rapid access to all fire
hydrants at all times, not waiting for the Fire Department to arrive on
the scene of a fire only to find the hydrant buried in snow.
Dudley Street at Columbia Rd
Stoughton at Burying Ground
Fire hydrants are shown from the January 14, 2011
snowstorm. On the left, the hydrant is on Dudley Street at Foot Locker -
this hydrant remained snowbound for days. On the right, hydrant
is on Stoughton Street and was cleared as part of shoveling the sidewalk
adjacent to the Dorchester North Burying Ground.
Improving Neighborhood Safety
According to Boston Fire Commissioner Rod Fraser, "Our firefighters will always be the City’s first and last line
of defense. However, Adopt-A-Hydrant provides an easy way for residents
interested in lending a hand to improve neighborhood safety." He added: “As the nation’s first fire
department, we are always looking for innovative ways to improve fire
prevention and response.”
Mayor Menino sees Adopt-A-Hydrant as a way "for our residents to show
the great sense of volunteerism that shines
in Boston all year, and it’s a great example of how we can use
technology to build community and keep neighborhoods safe.”
Volunteers of all kinds are needed in all seasons. "Coaching
little league or helping to maintain a park,
or signing up for Adopt-A-Hydrant - volunteers provide the foundation
for strong neighborhoods in Boston."
The City's Director of Emergency Management, Don McGough, is
enthusiastic about the program. “Informed and engaged residents are
key to the City’s ability to respond to any emergency – big or small.
Adopt-A-Hydrant offers a new format for engaging residents in the wake
of some of our toughest storms.”
How the Adopt-A-Hydrant Works
Go to the website boston.adoptahydrant.org
and sign in. Enter an address close to where you want to "adopt"
a hydrant. Yellow anchors will appear on the map where all
hydrants in that geographic vicinity are located. Choose the
hydrant(s) you would like to volunteer to shovel out from the selected
You will have the opportunity to name your adopted hydrants.
Furthermore, during winter snowstorms the City will remind you about
the hydrants as well as appropriate snow shoveling protocols.
Under the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics
The Adopt-A-Hydrant application was developed by Erik Michaels-Ober, a
Code for America fellow, who served with the City of Boston in
2011. The City is piloting the application this year. If
successful, the City will explore how this application could be used to
encourage adoption of other streetscape features, such as catch basins
or trees. The app also is available for other places to use and,
to-date, three cities – Chicago, Honolulu, and Buenos Aires – already
have all expressed an interest in adapting it for use by their
“We were pleased to be one of the first cities to partner with Code for
America and excited about the possibility of Adopt-A-Hydrant,” said
Bill Oates, Boston’s Chief Information Officer. “The innovative
applications that came from this partnership are allowing us to provide
new services to Boston residents and share new software and ideas with
Adopt A Hydrant is a project of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Boston Fire Department.
Mayor Menino’s Office of New Urban Mechanics focuses on piloting
transformative City services that spark civic engagement and leverage
Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics