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Pa. teen helps color code hydrants as Eagle Scout project

November 23, 2008|By DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- The last step to becoming an Eagle Scout is a community service project and the one Taylor Lind came up with saved the taxpayers of Washington Township money. In the future, it could also help save lives and property.

There are about 120 fire hydrants on the Washington Township Municipal Authority water system and they all looked alike until Lind, 17, assisted by other members of the Fairview Ward Varsity Boy Scouts Troop, color-coded about half of them by water pressure.

"The fire hydrants in commercial areas, like Wal-Mart, have water pressure of 1,500 to 2,000 gallons a minute," Lind said. In other areas, the flow from hydrants is as low as 250 gallons a minute, he said.

"They'll know immediately what the pressure is," Lind said.

When firefighters arrive at a fire, the caps of the hydrants, painted light blue, green, yellow, red and orange, tell them what the flow of the hydrant is, he said.

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If the pressure of a hydrant is on the low end of the scale, hooking it up to a pumper with a much higher gallons-per-minute capacity could damage the pipes, said Township Manager Michael Christopher. If the pressure is inadequate, it also lets firefighters know they need to run additional hose lines from other water sources, he said.

"This was a good project for the Scouts, the fire company and township," Christopher said. "This was a significant savings to the township."

"We supplied the brushes, the scrapers and the paint, and they supplied the elbow grease," Christopher said. "The coordination of the project was impressive and it was badly needed."

Had township crews done the work, it probably would have cost thousands of dollars, Christopher said.

Lind said he and other Scouts scraped and cleaned the hydrants, painted them and then stenciled on a number for easy identification when they require maintenance in the future.

Not all of the hydrants were easy to find or get to, Lind said.

"We had to go to extremes sometimes. We had to go four-wheeling up Thorn Hill" to get to hydrants installed in an orchard that will one day be developed, he said.

Another Scout, Zach Coleman, has recently been leading other Scouts in color-coding and numbering the township's other hydrants, Christopher said.

Last month, Lind's community service project was honored with an award from the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors. The award was presented to him at the fall convention of the Franklin County Association of Township Officials.

Lind participates in cross country, track and basketball at Waynesboro Area Senior High School, as well as band and choir. He also attends seminary at the Mormon Church before school.

He plans to attend Brigham Young University and study architecture.

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