NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Opening a fire hydrant to keep cool may be tempting, but before you do, there are a few things you should know. That’s why a group of young people is hard at work making sure you remain refreshed, but out of trouble.

Open fire hydrants during summer heat waves are a part of New York City culture, but doing so without a spray cap is illegal and dangerous.

“It comes out at 1,000 gallons per minute. It’s very fast and it can push kids into traffic, it can flood businesses, it can flood streets and if enough are open, in fact, we will have a drop in water pressure and it can be hard to fight fires,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland.

So to warn people about the dangers, the DEP’s HEAT team — which stands for Hydrant Education Action Team — canvasses the five boroughs educating residents, CBS 2’s Chris Wragge reported.

The team consists of 48 participants.

“Their main goal and purpose is to reach out to the different businesses and residents that live in these areas about the abuse of fire hydrants,” said HEAT project coordinator Tyza Perdomo.

The key point of their message is to put a spray cap on the hydrants and not waste the water. A spray cap uses only 10 to 25 gallons per minute as opposed to one thousand.

You can get a spray cap from your local firehouse.

In addition to one-on-one chats, HEAT members hand out fliers and hang posters. They even call 311 to report illegally open hydrants. Residents applaud their efforts.

Violators can face fines of up to a $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail or both.


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