Trail markers saving lives in emergencies


Josh Campbell

Emergency trail markers in local areas include colors and number-and-letter codes that help emergency responders pinpoint particular locations when responding to calls. 36 emergency trail markers were recently installed along Andy Brown Park and Campion Trails in Coppell.

Anjali Vishwanath, Staff Writer

Being active during hot Texas summers is a challenge made more difficult by recent COVID-19-related gym closures. Walking on outdoor trails provides an alternative to in-home workouts. 

The pandemic, compounded with recent high temperatures, may have prompted the installation of 36 emergency trail markers along Andy Brown Park and Campion Trails.

“Sometimes [I walk on the Coppell trails], when I have time,” Coppell High School junior Alyssa Bargas said. “Especially now, when the gyms are closed. It’s a good way to get out of the house.”

In the past few months, markers have been appearing along the trails. Standing at a few feet tall, these little wooden posts have potentially life-saving swatches of color and number-and-letter codes on them. The location codes help emergency responders pinpoint specific locations when they respond to calls.

In addition to COVID-19 concerns, the markers highlight the severity of heat exhaustion and dehydration, which are common in the hottest months of the year. 

“I definitely do [forget to drink water],” Bargas said. “I find myself drinking other beverages like coffee or tea.”

This is common amongst teenagers, who gravitate towards sweet and sugary drinks, or nothing at all, instead of water. However, this can become dangerous during periods of extremely high temperature.

Dehydration can cause fatigue and headaches, which can make someone increasingly susceptible to heat. These two conditions can compound to cause nausea, dizziness and fainting.

There are some measures that can be taken to keep dehydration at bay during walks. Water fountains, for humans and pets, are available in some Coppell parks in the event that someone forgets to bring a water bottle.

In the official announcement of these emergency trail markers, Coppell Fire Captain Chris Price said the best way to identify a person’s location on the trails is to first name the park or trail they are on, and describe the nearest emergency marker, mentioning the code and color listed on the post.

The markers will not only be effective for fatigued exercisers and dog-walkers. In the future, when the COVID-19 crisis is over, town events will once again be held in city parks. At that time, the markers will aid residents in time of anaphylaxis or other food emergencies.

These markers replaced long faded ones that had been painted on the ground. The new markers are much clearer and lasting, resistant to heavy rains. People may have wondered what they would do if they experienced a medical emergency on the trails, wondering how the ambulance would find them in such a remote area. These worries have been assuaged, as now residents have a system of emergency service posts to help identify specific remote locations.

These markers are especially helpful in life threatening situations, such as a medical emergency, and set up a system for effective emergency service.

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