The snow flies.  And after each storm, you clear the steps, you clear the sidewalk, you clear the driveway, but - did you remember to clear the fresh snow away from the fire hydrant that's located closest to you?

You probably don't think about them - why would you?  But a working, serviceable, and accessible fire hydrant is a vital safety tool that can help to make the difference between life and death.

It's also hard - because all too often those hydrants sit there, gathering snow, without anyone giving them a second thought.

To help raise awareness for the need to clear the snow away from these fire fighting tools, the Duluth Fire Department has taken to social media to encourage Northlanders to "adopt a hydrant" this winter.  They're even encouraging people to submit pictures of their cleared hydrant - along with details on how they keep it clear of snow - to get the chance to win a Duluth Fire Department prize pack that will be awarded later this spring.

Huge Snow Storm Slams Into Mid Atlantic States
Getty Images

To make it fun, the Duluth Fire Department is even encouraging people to give their adopted hydrant a name!

On a more serious note, the department shared that "every minute counts when crews respond to structure fires.  To shovel out a hydrant takes time".  When  they arrive on a scene to a hydrant that's already cleared of accumulated snow, they can get to the task at hand immediately.

The National Fire Prevention Association offers guidance in regards to snow removal around fire hydrants.  Their NFPA 1 Fire Code information details:

"A 36 inch clear space shall be maintained around the circumference of fire hydrants except as otherwise required or approved. This means your Authority Having Jurisdiction could have different requirements and that you should review your local code."

Homeowners are encouraged to clear the snow away from the closest fire hydrant before they start to remove the snow from their property.  That way, it's always made a priority.

Major Nor'Easter Hits East Coast
Getty Images

Things Every Northlander Needs During Winter

How To Prep Your Gas Grill For Winter Storage

10 Reasons You Should Love Winter In The Northland

10 Old Fisher Price Toys That Are a Blast From The Past

KEEP LOOKING: See what 50 company logos looked like then and now

More From KOOL 101.7