U.S. roads are filled with signs and markers that help drivers navigate streets and highways. However, not all signs were meant for drivers, which can cause some confusion. We know that speed bumps are meant to slow our vehicles down, and that a double yellow line means it’s too dangerous to cross, but what about those little blue reflective markers? These reflectors were placed in our streets for city firefighters to easily and quickly locate the nearest fire hydrant in the area. In Brentwood, Tennessee, however, these reflectors are being made obsolete with GPS technology.
The city of Brentwood has began mapping all of its fire hydrants with GPS technology. Before the hydrants were marked with GPS data, firefighters would get to the scene of emergency, and amidst all the chaos, look for the nearest blue reflector indicating a fire hydrant. With this modern technology, the first responders can check where the nearest fire hydrant is on their way to the fire. When it comes to firefighting, every precious second counts. The time that might have been spent looking for a fire hydrant, could mean saving thousands of dollars in property damage, or even mean the difference of life and death.
The blue reflectors served an important purpose, but their time has passed. It is difficult enough in high stress situations to locate one of these reflectors in perfect condition, much less when they’ve endured years of wear and tear.The roads themselves need to be repaved throughout the years, and over time, the reflectors can become dull as tire after tire rolls over them. Time will tell if other cities follow in Brentwood’s footsteps, replacing the blue reflectors with GPS mapping. The existing Brentwood reflectors will not be removed, but they will no longer serve a formal purpose, or be replaced with wear and tear.