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Not seeing red

Worth resident, trustee claim red fire hydrants are difficult to see

By Laura Bollin

A Worth resident on Tuesday expressed to the Village Board his concern that firefighters cannot see fire hydrants, particularly at night.

Rick Landry told Worth officials the village’s fire hydrants could not be seen at night because of a lack of reflective paint, which the village does not currently have funds to purchase.  The majority of the village’s 600 or so hydrants are red, public works director Wayne Demonbreun added.

. Worth is served by the North Palos Fire Protection District.

Worth Trustee Mary Rhein explained that fire hydrants can only be red or yellow.

“Many, many years ago, the administration wanted red fire hydrants, and the firefighters wanted yellow, and the administration won out,” Rhein said. “Firefighters can see the yellow hydrants better. I drive down Harlem Avenue every day to work and those yellow fire hydrants stick out. Before they were painted, I didn’t know there was a fire hydrant every block on Harlem Avenue.”

The village does not have the funds to paint all of its hydrants yellow or add reflective paint to their caps, Worth Mayor Randy Keller said. He did not provide a cost estimate for such a project.

“When the funds become available, hopefully we can get this project underway, at least on the main streets,” Keller said. Landry, who is involved with a local Boy Scout troop, volunteered to have scouts paint the hydrants as a service project.

Some hydrants in Worth also have colored caps so firefighters know how much water can be pumped by the hydrant and what kind of water hose can be hooked up to it, Landry said. A blue cap means a hydrant can pump 1,500 gallons, green means 1,000 gallons, orange mean 500 gallons and red indicates less than 500 gallons. Demonbreun said the painted caps are worthwhile.

“I think it is a great idea,” Demonbruen said. “If firefighters hook up the wrong line, the water main can actually collapse.”