Open Fire Hydrants Illegal and Hazardous to Health

Use Spray Caps To Beat The Summer Heat

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) reminds New Yorkers that opening fire hydrants without spray caps is illegal, wasteful and dangerous.

Illegally opened hydrants can lower water pressure and put lives at risk if there is a fire. Children can also be at serious risk, because the powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can knock a child down, causing serious injury.

The unauthorized opening of New York City fire hydrants often spikes during heat waves. Firefighters need adequate water pressure to put out fires. Opening a hydrant without a spray cap lowers water pressure and can hinder firefighting by reducing the flow of water to hoses and pumps.

The reduction of water pressure resulting from illegally opened hydrants can also cause problems at hospitals and other medical facilities.

Opening a hydrant illegally can result in fines of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both. New Yorkers should call 311 to report open fire hydrants.

Hydrants can be opened legally if equipped with a city-approved spray cap. One illegally opened hydrant generally releases more than 1,000 gallons of water per minute, while a hydrant with a spray cap releases 20 to 25 gallons per minute. Spray caps can be obtained by an adult 18 or over, free of charge, at local firehouses.

New Yorkers are urged to report illegally opened fire hydrants to 311 immediately.

For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep or follow the DEP on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ nycwater.