I Wonder: What are the blue reflectors for?

I Wonder: What are the blue reflectors for?

I Wonder: What are the blue reflectors for?

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by Don Day

Bio | Email | Follow: @DonLDay

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 28, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 5:36 AM

What those blue reflector lights that are "glued" to the streets? Some streets have them in the center of road, some are in one lane or the other and still others are along the side of the road.
- Karen in Boise

BOISE – We like the color blue here in the KTVB I Wonder department.  We’ve done stories on the blue & orange, blue lights on stoplights – and now we’re digging into those blue reflectors found on streets all over the area.

The small reflectors look like they could appear on a bike – but instead are plunked down on the ground, glued to the pavement.

You might have seen them and wondered what they are for, like Karen.  Maybe you’ve even figured it out.

Here’s the deal: the reflectors help mark where fire hydrants are – usually appearing in the middle of the street near an adjacent spout.

“Often, hydrants are obscured by landscaping or other obstructions, and particularly at night, the fire engines headlights pick up the blue lights and they instantly locate the hydrants,” Boise Fire Department spokesperson Lynn Hightower said.

When seconds count, the last thing a firefighter wants to do is hunt around to find the nearest source of water. The reflectors make it easy to find a hydrant in the dark - or even during the day.

Fire crews are actually responsible for placing and maintaining the markers.  You might see a rig loaded with firefighters roll up in your neighborhood and place the piece of plastic on a street near your home.  The reflectors are often scraped off by snowplows or road work – meaning crews are constantly working to keep the reflectors up-to-date.

Hightower says Boise has been using the markers for the past 12 years – and says the system works well.

Read past I Wonder stories. Click here to submit a question
 

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