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71° Good Afternoon

How do you turn a city fire hydrant into a sprinkler? NYCurious

You need a city-approved spray cap.

Tracy Lee Francis cools off in a fire

Tracy Lee Francis cools off in a fire hydrant on Martense Street in East Flatbush on Aug 7, 2018. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

When summer in New York City gets too hot to handle, a seemingly perfect way to cool down is to open up the fire hydrant on your block.

But is that actually allowed?

With temperatures expected to hit the upper 90s this weekend, scroll down to find out the legal way to turn a hydrant into a sprinkler.

Is it legal to open a fire hydrant?

Opening up a fire hydrant without a business permit or a city-approved spray cap is illegal. The penalty for illegally opening up a hydrant is up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection said.

Why is it illegal?

Hydrants can spew out up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute, according to the DEP. Wasting that much water reduces the water pressure at other hydrants, making it harder for firefighters to do their job.

How do you get a spray cap?

If you’re at least 18 years old, you can go to your local firehouse, show an ID and fill out a form for a free spray cap. The firehouse will then install the cap and you’ll be able to open the hydrant for recreational use.

Spray caps reduce the amount of water coming out of the hydrant to 25 gallons per minute, the DEP said.

Where can illegally opened fire hydrants get reported?

Illegally opened hydrants are supposed to be reported to the city through 311.


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