Blue Reflective Hydrant Markers
© 2001 Capt. Willis Lamm, Water Supply Officer, Moraga-Orinda (CA) Fire District

Many communities have neighborhoods with streets that do not have formal sidewalks. Landscape planting is often close to the roadway edge and it can be difficult to visibly locate some fire hydrants under the best of conditions. Add such elements as improperly parked vehicles, darkness, fog or heavy smoke conditions and it can be almost impossible to rapidly locate some hydrants. Business districts are often crowded with vehicles parked too close to hydrants for easy visual locating.

Most agencies show all hydrants on district maps and local companies are familiar with their assigned areas, however oftentimes the closest engine companies will respond directly to the scene to effect rapid rescue and attack a fire using water carried on the engines. A later arriving engine from a more distant station will establish continuous water supply. Especially on narrow streets, crews may not want to block the roadway with hose lines until all the units needed at the actual fire scene have arrived.

Thus it is imperative that the engine company assigned the task of water supply is able to quickly locate the appropriate fire hydrant, make a connection and deliver water to engines at the fire scene. To ensure uniform identification of our fire hydrants, the Moraga-Orinda Fire District uses blue reflective pavement markers to indicate the presence of the fire hydrant to approaching companies.

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The district has adopted the standards set forth in the State Traffic Manual.
  • On unstriped roadways, blue markers shall be set in the center of the roadway.

  • On undivided striped roadways, blue markers shall be set 6" to the hydrant side of the center stripe.

  • On divided roadways, the blue marker shall be set 6" to the side of the lane striping which is closest to the hydrant.

In locations where hydrants are situated on corners, blue markers shall be installed on both approaches which front the hydrant.

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