CHATHAM, NJ - In the near future, members of the Chatham Borough Fire Department will be able to look at a computer on the way to a call and see exactly where the closest fire hydrant is located.
Thanks to summer intern Brian Goldstein, the technology is there to access. The 18-year-old Chatham High graduate spent nearly three months mapping trees and fire hydrants through a GPS system. Chatham used Morris County software to map the trees and hydrants. The final product was uploaded to Chatham's Fire Mobile system.
Goldstein presented the mapping work and explained the process at the Chatham Borough Council meeting on Monday night.
"We had an interface with the county communications and uploaded it to our system," Steve Williams, Chatham's Deputy Fire Marshall said. "The hydrants are located on this key map by block and lot. This is invaluable information we've been trying to get and we have not been able to get it into our system until now.
"It is now in the Fire Mobile system and the fire chief has this on his computer. When the computers are purchased for the equipment, it will be in each of the engines and we'll be able to see the hydrants as we're approaching. This is one phase of our fire identification program."
Williams said that new hydrant markers will be installed on each of the 340 hydrants to make them easier to see and that diamond reflectors will eventually be added to further help pinpoint the hydrants.
Goldstein spent a month learning how to use the mapping software and then went to work. He identified one hydrant that was hidden from view in a wooded area.
"It's relatively accurate and that's because the GPS would use anywhere from five to 12 satellites in the area at the time," Goldstein said. "I stayed there for about 30 seconds for each item to get an accurate reading."
Goldstein also identified 3,996 borough trees and noted which ones could be hazardous to power line.
"I'm very pleased to be able to work with Brian," Williams said. "He's an asset to Chatham Borough."
Goldstein plans on studying aerospace engineering a the University of Arizona in the fall.
"It was an interesting experience," Goldstein said.