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Fire Hydrant Signs


The Wombles
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I clicked the link but without an account it won't let me reply there.

 

Anything that relates to safety seems to be an obvious no-no. I'm no fan of endless rules but there have to be some concrete rules. What will we see next, a fake life ring beside the river? A fake defibrillator outside a shopping mall?

 

A fake "no unauthorised access" or "high voltage" magnetic sign does nobody any harm. A film pot under a bench does nobody any harm. Where something might be mistaken for a genuine safety feature (like a fire hydrant, life ring, defibrillator etc) the potential consequences are unacceptable.

 

I haven't read the GAGB rules in full (having never placed a cache myself) but I'd have thought they could be written in a way that covers generic concepts rather than an exhaustive list of every single possible scenario.

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I read the first page of this and was shocked to see that one person in particular never even knew we had fire hydrants in the UK and think there isn't an issue. :o :o Having been a commander of a Green Goddess in the fire strikes of 2002, I can tell you they are important pieces of information. They don't just tell you the location of the hydrant but also the water pressure of that hydrant.

 

A little something to remember for when it snows. When I was a kid, I remember watching a lots of people rush with shovels to assist the fire service in locating a fire hydrant in the snow. With the compacted ice it took a while to locate it and free it from the ice. I have a hydrant right outside my house, and when it snows I clear the sign and hydrant and grit it. You never know it might be your life & house that it may save.

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There must be a positive way of making virtual caches of all hydrants and encouraging people hence to know their location and perhaps even the fault number if they find for example the information plate had been torn off?

 

Not wanting to by put this thread off target, but what do people feel about adding say life belt locations as virtual caches, with a contents check as part of the 'find', and the fault number on the description?

 

I feel this could help society lots, like the cache in trash out basis??

 

Where would I suggest this properly?

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Where would I suggest this properly?

 

Virtuals aren't allowed by Groundspeak anymore, though you could try over at Waymarking.com, or one of the other cache listing sites.

 

Okay what if a safe and sensible micro container was placed? :)

There are plenty caches like that. As long as you have adequate permission and it isn't going to hamper the use of the equipment it shouldn't be a problem.

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There must be a positive way of making virtual caches of all hydrants and encouraging people hence to know their location and perhaps even the fault number if they find for example the information plate had been torn off?

 

Not wanting to by put this thread off target, but what do people feel about adding say life belt locations as virtual caches, with a contents check as part of the 'find', and the fault number on the description?

 

I feel this could help society lots, like the cache in trash out basis??

 

Where would I suggest this properly?

It's an obvious Waymark category, but I doubt that it would be worthwhile. There must be hundreds of thousands of fire hydrant signs and life belts in the UK and you'd never be able to log even a slightly useful sample. Plus, as there's no guarantee that the location and details are accurate, no-one would use the details for anything serious.

 

I'm sure that even the official maps of fire hydrant locations are taken with a pinch of salt, as any error would be highly misleading otherwise. I imagine that the first thing the fire brigade does is start using the in-vehicle reservoir, while another officer runs off to find the nearest hydrant using their (limited) information about the location.

 

(Edit to add) I don't think that anyone has made the point that any cache which a finder considers to be of a dangerously misleading type should be immediately reported to the reviewer via a Needs Archived log. I'd hope that any Guide To Geocaching would mention that, in order to encourage people and overcome their natural reticence to cause a fuss and possibly annoy the cache owner.

Edited by Happy Humphrey
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I read the first page of this and was shocked to see that one person in particular never even knew we had fire hydrants in the UK and think there isn't an issue.

I'm sorry that my lack of knowledge shocks you: I don't pretend to know everything and am happy to admit when I don't. To me, a fire hydrant is something they have in the United States: I've lived in England for most of my 50+ years and I've never heard "fire hydrant" used in this country. One lives and learns, but I'll still always equate the expression with sidewalk furniture across the Atlantic.

 

The fire hydrants there are large and prominent: they're hard to miss. The ones here, I know now, are small black flaps embedded in the road or pavement surface. They're hard to see, which is why they have the yellow H nearby to try to make it easier to locate them. Yet the signs themselves are small, often hard to see and often hidden in vegetation. If these hydrants are so important why are they so well hidden that even the people who urgently need to use them have difficulty finding them?

 

Groundspeak has banned fake fire hydrant signs (despite claiming to have only guidelines not rules). What will be next: fake footpath signs; fake signs on cabinets; any other innovative hide? Remember Martin Niemöller...

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Groundspeak has banned fake fire hydrant signs (despite claiming to have only guidelines not rules). What will be next: fake footpath signs; fake signs on cabinets; any other innovative hide? Remember Martin Niemöller...

I suspect the "ban" may extend to encompass all fake signs which may cause safety issues, I wouldn't be too happy if a fake "Fire Exit" sign led to a broom cupboard, it may be extremely unlikely that there will ever be a fire leading to someone opening that wrong door, but why create the potential problem in the first place?

 

This issue is only being discussed because the problem arose in real life, and those most likely to be affected (the fire service) asked that the practice stop, I struggle to understand how anyone can have a problem with that.

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I read the first page of this and was shocked to see that one person in particular never even knew we had fire hydrants in the UK and think there isn't an issue.

I'm sorry that my lack of knowledge shocks you: I don't pretend to know everything and am happy to admit when I don't. To me, a fire hydrant is something they have in the United States: I've lived in England for most of my 50+ years and I've never heard "fire hydrant" used in this country. One lives and learns, but I'll still always equate the expression with sidewalk furniture across the Atlantic.

 

The fire hydrants there are large and prominent: they're hard to miss. The ones here, I know now, are small black flaps embedded in the road or pavement surface. They're hard to see, which is why they have the yellow H nearby to try to make it easier to locate them. Yet the signs themselves are small, often hard to see and often hidden in vegetation. If these hydrants are so important why are they so well hidden that even the people who urgently need to use them have difficulty finding them?

 

Groundspeak has banned fake fire hydrant signs (despite claiming to have only guidelines not rules). What will be next: fake footpath signs; fake signs on cabinets; any other innovative hide? Remember Martin Niemöller...

 

To quote the very first line of the very first post on the GAGB Forum by the GAGB Chairman, opening the discussion on this subject.

Groundspeak received a complaint about a fake Fire Hydrant sign in South Wales from the local Fire Service. The Fire Service have asked that no more fake Fire Hydrant signs are put up which they consider to be a safety risk.

 

My Bold. Groundspeak reacted to the communication by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Did you expect them to ignore this request? It's not one generated by Groundspeak nor the Volunteer Reviewers, A point you seem to be missing. Please stop pointing the finger at Groundspeak, when this was generated by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

 

 

Just to make it clear, it's not Groundspeak like you have claimed, but the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who contacted Groundspeak Directly. Do they physically have to individually contact each and every Geocache Listing Site with their request, for those Listing Sites to pay attention to their request? Because if Listing Sites who are Listing Geocaches in the UK are ignoring a request by one of the Emergency Services, there is something terribly wrong.

 

 

Deci

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To quote the very first line of the very first post on the GAGB Forum by the GAGB Chairman, opening the discussion on this subject.

Groundspeak received a complaint about a fake Fire Hydrant sign in South Wales from the local Fire Service. The Fire Service have asked that no more fake Fire Hydrant signs are put up which they consider to be a safety risk.

 

My Bold. Groundspeak reacted to the communication by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Did you expect them to ignore this request? It's not one generated by Groundspeak nor the Volunteer Reviewers, A point you seem to be missing. Please stop pointing the finger at Groundspeak, when this was generated by the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

The fire service may have asked but it is Groundspeak who has banned such caches. Does Groundspeak ban all caches when asked? Rhetorical question...

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I have said this elsewhere - and I believe it to be true:

 

Deceangi has stated elsewhere that as Geocaching is only just 11 years old it is essential to realise it is still a growing pastime, and the way the game is played is still evolving, as it will continue to do.

 

The pastime is becoming more well known, is attracting a much more diverse following - in itself a very good agent for evolution - it is becoming more mainstream.

 

As such perhaps those in overall control (such as the owners of Geocaching.com, Opencaching, (Garmin) Opencaching, Terracaching etc) need to reconsider the language they use to run the pastime.

 

As I understand it a "Guideline" is a statement of what someone feels ought to be done. It is advisory and not mandatory.

 

A "Rule" or "Regulation" is something that has to be done. It is mandatory.

 

Where people see the phrase "Guideline" they could make a similar interpretation to my own, they could see it as advisory.

 

The placing of fake fire hydrant signs as being discussed here is, certainly for me, something that should not be done - for the variety of reasons already outlined.

 

It should be a rule, and stated as such in the various organisations manifestoes.

 

Placing a cache in a plastic bag can make the cache unpleasant and dank to handle, some authorities also have seen it as a hazard to wildlife. Perhaps the advice to not place a cache in a plastic bag could be seen as a "Guideline"?

 

I would expect a reviewer (from any organisation) to apply the "Rules" or "Regulations" asolutely, and be less fastidious about applying the "Guidleines" - other than to remind the CO of their existance.

 

Whatever phraseology is adopted, as with all "Rules", "Regulations" and "Guidelines" there will always be the added complication of interpretation (how else would the barristers and solicitors make a living), but use of a common and easily understandable phraseology could reduce the amount of angst and argument the evolution of a pastime has been shown to generate.

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I have said this elsewhere - and I believe it to be true:

 

Deceangi has stated elsewhere that as Geocaching is only just 11 years old it is essential to realise it is still a growing pastime, and the way the game is played is still evolving, as it will continue to do.

 

The pastime is becoming more well known, is attracting a much more diverse following - in itself a very good agent for evolution - it is becoming more mainstream.

 

As such perhaps those in overall control (such as the owners of Geocaching.com, Opencaching, (Garmin) Opencaching, Terracaching etc) need to reconsider the language they use to run the pastime.

 

As I understand it a "Guideline" is a statement of what someone feels ought to be done. It is advisory and not mandatory.

 

A "Rule" or "Regulation" is something that has to be done. It is mandatory.

 

Where people see the phrase "Guideline" they could make a similar interpretation to my own, they could see it as advisory.

 

The placing of fake fire hydrant signs as being discussed here is, certainly for me, something that should not be done - for the variety of reasons already outlined.

 

It should be a rule, and stated as such in the various organisations manifestoes.

 

Placing a cache in a plastic bag can make the cache unpleasant and dank to handle, some authorities also have seen it as a hazard to wildlife. Perhaps the advice to not place a cache in a plastic bag could be seen as a "Guideline"?

 

I would expect a reviewer (from any organisation) to apply the "Rules" or "Regulations" asolutely, and be less fastidious about applying the "Guidleines" - other than to remind the CO of their existance.

 

Whatever phraseology is adopted, as with all "Rules", "Regulations" and "Guidelines" there will always be the added complication of interpretation (how else would the barristers and solicitors make a living), but use of a common and easily understandable phraseology could reduce the amount of angst and argument the evolution of a pastime has been shown to generate.

 

Well said, Dave. I've always been an outspoken critic of the term 'guideline' when it is applied rigorously and without any chance of appeal. That's a 'rule / law / regulation' and it's about time that Groundspeak and their 'lackeys' (their term) admit to this and end, once and for all, the beating about the bush that has caused so much aggravation.

Edited by Pharisee
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I read the first page of this and was shocked to see that one person in particular never even knew we had fire hydrants in the UK and think there isn't an issue.

I'm sorry that my lack of knowledge shocks you: I don't pretend to know everything and am happy to admit when I don't. To me, a fire hydrant is something they have in the United States: I've lived in England for most of my 50+ years and I've never heard "fire hydrant" used in this country. One lives and learns, but I'll still always equate the expression with sidewalk furniture across the Atlantic.

 

The fire hydrants there are large and prominent: they're hard to miss. The ones here, I know now, are small black flaps embedded in the road or pavement surface. They're hard to see, which is why they have the yellow H nearby to try to make it easier to locate them. Yet the signs themselves are small, often hard to see and often hidden in vegetation. If these hydrants are so important why are they so well hidden that even the people who urgently need to use them have difficulty finding them?

 

Groundspeak has banned fake fire hydrant signs (despite claiming to have only guidelines not rules). What will be next: fake footpath signs; fake signs on cabinets; any other innovative hide? Remember Martin Niemöller...

I suspect your real issue is, is that you don't actually understand!!

 

Perhaps you would if it were your house that was on fire, with your family trapped inside, you are outside and watching the fire service hunt fruitlessly for a non existent fire hydrant due to a fake sign being nearby.

I bet your view would most definitely be different then? <_<

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I read the first page of this and was shocked to see that one person in particular never even knew we had fire hydrants in the UK and think there isn't an issue.

I'm sorry that my lack of knowledge shocks you: I don't pretend to know everything and am happy to admit when I don't. To me, a fire hydrant is something they have in the United States: I've lived in England for most of my 50+ years and I've never heard "fire hydrant" used in this country. One lives and learns, but I'll still always equate the expression with sidewalk furniture across the Atlantic.

 

The fire hydrants there are large and prominent: they're hard to miss. The ones here, I know now, are small black flaps embedded in the road or pavement surface. They're hard to see, which is why they have the yellow H nearby to try to make it easier to locate them. Yet the signs themselves are small, often hard to see and often hidden in vegetation. If these hydrants are so important why are they so well hidden that even the people who urgently need to use them have difficulty finding them?

 

 

This may be a little off topic, but if you're interested in a little lesson on the history of the fire service, I'll explain...Back in the days of the bucket brigade, firefighting water was obtained from whatever well, creek, ditch, or pond happened to be handy. But as cities began to grow larger (like London, for example), the need to pipe water in from remote sources was recognized. Some of these early "pipes" were actually made of wood, as iron pipes were difficult to manufacture in large quantities in those days (think late 1700's-early 1800's).

 

With wooden "pipes" it was easy to tap into the top of the water header with a drill or auger to create a source of water. When not needed, a wooden plug was driven into the tapped hole, then (presumably) the local cobblestones or whatever were placed back over the site to maintain the continuity of the street or sidewalk. If the fire department marked the location, it was easier to remove an existing plug than to drill a new hole if water was needed. Hence we have the term "fireplug" which is what fire hydrants are sometimes called. Since London and some of the larger European cities were the first to use this type of arrangement, this became the dominant "style" of fire hydrant, which apparently continues to this day.

 

So other than pureley aesthetic reasons (not having big iron "sidewalk furniture", as you aptly described it), there was a historical reason why English hydrants evolved into their current design.

 

Here's a Wikipedia article about it, with some good pictures of the different hydrant designs:

 

Fire Hydrant

 

Enough of the history lesson. Now this...

 

Perhaps you would if it were your house that was on fire, with your family trapped inside, you are outside and watching the fire service hunt fruitlessly for a non existent fire hydrant due to a fake sign being nearby.

 

...is probably the more important bit to remember. You are correct in your earlier statement that yes, the fire department probably does have a detailed map of it's water system and where all the hydrants are located...even my little rural volunteer department maintains hydrant maps, I'm sure they're far more sophisticated in urban areas. But having to locate a hydrant on a map during a fire response is a slow process. It would be a bit like asking you to look on the map to see which intersections you have to stop at, instead of actually installing stop signs.

 

Most firefighters know their first due area pretty well and have probably used or tested every hydrant in it, so they have a pretty good general knowledge of where their hydrants are located. A fake hydrant sign would probably be noticed and investigated if it suddenly appeared in an area where they know there should not be a hydrant. But at 2:00 am in the dark when you've just rolled out of bed, it would be easy to be tricked by a fake hydrant location.

 

You also have to consider that it's not simply a matter of seconds that will be wasted as they get out of the the truck, see that the location is fake, and look for another one. In all likelihood they will drop off a man with tools, lay a supply line, and only then realize that there's no hydrant. You see, their whole arrangement of the fire scene, from the location of the hydrant to the placement of the truck at the fire to the placement of additional trucks and THEIR water supply, is all decided in seconds based on current conditions, and sometimes pre-existing plans for that location. Once you commit to laying hose and placing apparatus at the fire scene, it's a HUGE delay and hazard to have to suddenly realize your hydrant is non-existant and begin rearranging trucks and looking for another water supply.

 

Sorry for the long ramble, but I just wanted to add a firefighter's perspective to the conversation....

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As I understand it the consultation is whether the GAGB write a new rule banning caches looking like fire hydrant signs NOT whether such caches are a good idea or not. From what I can see the general consensus is that a fake hydrant sign is a BAD idea for its potential to confuse the fire services in an emergency. What is less clear is whether having a rule banning this specific bad idea is a good thing or not. There is also debate on whether the GAGB should introduce such a specific rule or whether it would be more appropriate for each listing website (such as this one) to be rule makers.

 

My own view is that reacting to each specific is probably a bad idea. After all is there a rule forbidding a cache masquerading as fake One Way sign, or looking like a bomb with fake wires, or looking like a lifebuoy, or ................, or .............. ? No there isn't although I would argue that each of those ideas is a bad thing and cachers shouldn't place them. If you go down the route of banning specifics, as time goes by the list grows and grows and very quickly becomes unmanageable.

 

On this site I think it better to let reviewers use their judgement.

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Sorry for the long ramble, but I just wanted to add a firefighter's perspective to the conversation....

Thanks for the interesting background information, but as yet I haven't seen one post that argues in favour of these fake signs. As Neath Worthies also point out, the consultation wasn't about whether these signs are a good idea or not.

Does anyone know how many of these fake signs have been found so far? It may be that some people are getting alarmed by the thought of thousands of them causing panic up and down the UK when in fact there are only a few dozen. Not that I approve of the few dozen, but I guess they've all been reported by now. So surely if the number is so low the best action would be to e-mail every one of those cache owners to let them know why their cache is being archived; and if someone is supplying these things then let them know why they shouldn't. The rules or guidelines can be finalised later.

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On this site I think it better to let reviewers use their judgement.

 

 

Whilst I have intrinsic agreement with this, I know from experience that using one's judgement when reviewing a cache can cause quite disturbing consequences from the caching community.

 

Perhaps the use of fixed "Rules" in some cases would ease our excellent reviewing team out of a possible "no win" situation where a decision they make is applauded by some and damned by some.

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On this site I think it better to let reviewers use their judgement.

 

 

Whilst I have intrinsic agreement with this, I know from experience that using one's judgement when reviewing a cache can cause quite disturbing consequences from the caching community.

 

Perhaps the use of fixed "Rules" in some cases would ease our excellent reviewing team out of a possible "no win" situation where a decision they make is applauded by some and damned by some.

I'm sure that reviewers can have rules about such matters if it suits.

But geocachers need education, guidance and advice; and I believe that the consultation is about geocachers, not reviewers.

 

How I see it working is that the reviewer checks a new submission which appears to be for a fake fire hydrant sign. He/she disallows the listing, because the listing site has a rule against these particular hides. He/she doesn't have to mention this rule to the cache owner, just that the hide appears to be inappropriate and may cause trouble. The reviewer could link to the GAGB Guide which advises that "cheeky" hides such as fake items need to be thought through; and an appendix to the guide which details some examples where sneaky or creative hides went wrong. Including the fire hydrant incident. All covered, without the cache hider having to wade through dozens of officious and stifling rules.

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Is it just me, that feels guidelines are perfectly exceptable, in that Groundspeak or GAGB don't want to deter people from caching by being over formal. Yes guidelines are in place and reviewers use these well, and are able to enforce them. I think if you change the guidelines to DO's and DON'Ts it could have a larger impact. At the end of the day it, most of the guidelines are common sense and give a good but not over bearing thoughts on what not to do.

 

Also this is just a pastime not the Olympics.

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How I see it working is that the reviewer checks a new submission which appears to be for a fake fire hydrant sign.
Except I would think it highly unlikely that the reviewer would be aware at submission time that it was a fake fire hydrant sign.

 

Hence I can see that such a rule or guideline needs to be in the public domain. Not that I can see it making much difference - I imagine not that many cache setters actually read the rules and guidelines, despite acknowledging that they do.

 

Agree it would need to be generalised, rather than fire hydrant specific, though fire hydrant might be used as an example because of the specific request by the emergency services.

 

On the subject of rules/guidelines, I can see a case for a listing site separating the two, for clarity. That's not the case for the GAGB, of course, as they are in a good position to suggest guidelines but are not able to make rules.

 

Rgds, Andy

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Firstly before I word this wrong and everyone thinks I'm in favour of the fake hydrant, I don't.

 

I don't believe that there needs to be a rule as there is already law of the land. Awareness is required and therefore agree that if someone places a cache stating in their cache page that it's a fake hydrant sign that the review simply says no. As HH said, the power is theirs.

 

I do however like the Met approach of asking for a photo and think this should be uploaded to the page when requesting the cache to be approved. This image should then only be able to seen by reviewers, the owner and perhaps even the emergency services but should be able to be updated if required. The description should also be of any pertinent points to where it's been hidden e.g. it will be a magnetic sign saying throw your rubbish away or in a drain pipe on the side of a pub.

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... Remember Martin Niemöller...

 

Godwins law, we have reached unity :rolleyes:

Ah, I fear my attempt to persuade the readers to look beyond the fake hydrant signs may have backfired. I was trying to educate others to the philosophy behind the poem, rather than its history. Perhaps Ben Franklin would be less contentious?

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