Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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November 5, 2013

Residents: Silver fire hydrants makes for prettier Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE — An Internet empowerment site describes the color Silver as having “a feminine energy – related to the moon and the ebb and flow of the tides.”

Whether or not this is true, it should be noted  that several of the city's  downtown fire hydrants have recently been painted that very color. Officials are hoping many hydrants can receive a similar coat of paint – although not necessarily silver – in the very near future.

This is all part of an ongoing Jacksonville beautification project spearheaded by the group  “Keep Jacksonville Beautiful.”  

Several area volunteers are expected to help paint fire hydrants around town as city officials foot the bill for the paint.

“I'll be buying a bunch of the supplies,” Jacksonville Fire Chief Paul White explained Thursday.

 In terms of practicality, the more conservative painters could argue that firefighters need a strong visual cue when pulling up to the scene of a blaze.

Such a cue could be the more standard kind established by The National Fire Protection Association – which  recommends the main trunk of fire hydrants be painted yellow.

As part of this same equation, bonnets and nozzles are recommended to be painted another color  –  such as light blue, green, orange or red.

The aforementioned silver-colored fire hydrant is definitely a departure from that particular, practical norm.

But not to worry, officials say.  NFPA's guidelines – while cited often on the Internet – is by no means binding on fire officials in Jacksonville.

Local firefighters are free to adopt whatever colors they wish when painting hydrants, White said. It doesn't matter if that decision is based on practicality or artistic sensibility.  

White said many posters on social media networks such as Facebook do not understand that Jacksonville has  autonomy in this matter. They are incorrectly assuming it is against the rules for Jacksonville residents to color a fire hydrant silver.

One such observer said: "Fire hydrants are supposed to be color coded based on pressure and flow.”

White was quick to clarify that the observer is incorrect: The city has the right to choose whatever colors it wants.

The Tyler Fire Department, for instance, paints its bonnets silver and its main body red, he said.

Despite the enthusiasm for silver, don't expect to see all city hydrants swallowed under a sea of silver paint, according to officials.

City Manager Mo Raissi said he expects hydrants to be painted both silver and red around town by the different groups participating in the around-town venture.   

The advent of silver fire hydrants has pleased several  residents. One of the more vocal  is popular restaurateur Rob Gowin.

"This is first of many facelifts for Downtown Jacksonville," Gowin wrote on his Facebook page. "Thanks to all the volunteers! Teamwork is Dreamwork."

Or, in the words of another Facebook poster: “A $5  can of Krylon (spray paint)  makes a whole city look better.”

 

Anyone with any questions about the fire hydrants can email paul.white@jacksonvilletx.org.

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