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Smart Hydrants

Smarter Fire Hydrants
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One would think that any fire department (at least in the US) would know where all the fire hydrants are. Alas, they don't...they rely on the driver of the fire engine to be able to see them. Sometimes they are overgrown with weeds, or otherwise obscured by dark shadows etc. One would start with an easy locating system. Perhaps make them blink with a little strobe light as a fire engine goes by...or at least GPS tag the locations into some database which alerts the engineer when there is one in close proximity. Another improvement might be leak detection, or remote testing capability.
ShawnBob, Jul 07 2010

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       One would still think that fire departments know where all the hydrants are... pretty sure they have databases so if a call gets in for "1234 Anywhere Drive" they can look it up on the way.
FlyingToaster, Jul 07 2010
  

       I would imagine it would only be a matter of time before all the flashing hydrant lights disappeared, ending up re-deployed as decorations in some kid's bedroom.   

       Around here they paint a short pale blue line on the road perpendicular to the curb to show the location of each hydrant. Low tech, but effective.
Canuck, Jul 08 2010
  

       Actually, I don't think anyone really knows where they are...I think it's done simply by driveby sighting.   

       Case in point was the time we couldn't find a hydrant to tie into and then found one after the fact about 15 feet from our fire engine knee-deep in the weeds and cover of darkness...but this after setting up a collection pool and shuttling water...net result, the fire got put out anyhow, but a little slower than we could have.   

       Some locals put blue reflective dots in the road near hydrants. I don't know of anyone that maintains a database, although one would think they exist.   

       There's probably a much better way...my idea seems a bit Rube Goldbergian at the moment.
ShawnBob, Jul 08 2010
  

       Tap the hydrants into the gas mains as well as the water mains, and have an "eternal flame" burning on a pole on top ?
8th of 7, Jul 08 2010
  

       It strikes me that, if a firefighter has had problems finding a hydrant, his suggestion of a solution is not so daft.   

       I think a database would be cheapest and most robust - it requires no modification of the hydrants, cannot be tampered with, and could be superimposed on a satnav or similar.   

       Another solution would be to have all fire engines preceded by Starsky and Hutch. Wherever those two drove, there was always a group of local kids playing in the water from a fire hydrant. This system would also help the firemen to locate those big piles of empty cardboard boxes stacked in narrow alleys - they must be a fire hazard.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 08 2010
  
      
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