As the last month of summer cranks up, the city of New York is reminding residents that fire hydrants can be legally opened to help keep cool.
According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), illegal use of fire hydrants spikes during heat waves, but can result in a $1,000 fine, up to 30 days in jail, or both. Water pressure lost due to open hydrants can impede firefighters responding to a fire. The powerful jet of water can also injure children.
Hospitals and medical facilities are particularly vulnerable to lowered water pressure due to illegally opened fire hydrants.
The good news is that it’s possible to legally, and safely, open hydrants with a special cap that can be obtained from any fire station house. The city-approved spray cap can be obtained by anybody over the age of 18, and can saves almost 1,000 gallons of water per minute.
Illegally opened hydrants, distinguishable by the gushing flow of water rather than a more gentle spray, can be reported by calling 311.