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The illegal opening of fire hydrants often increases during heat waves. Opening fire hydrants can lower water pressure so firefighters don’t have enough water to put out a fire, potentially putting lives at risk. Children can also be at serious risk because the powerful force of an open hydrant without a sprinkler or spray cap can knock a child down, causing serious injury. The reduction of water pressure resulting from illegally opened hydrants can also cause problems at hospitals and other medical facilities.
A series of open hydrants can cause brown water for residents. When several hydrants are opened at once, the increased speed of the water in the water main can pick up minerals and other sediments that normally settle to the bottom of the pipe. Those sediments end up in toilet bowls and coming out of faucets in area homes and businesses.
“The danger of illegally opened hydrants is clear. Opening hydrants can reduce water pressure so that firefighters may not have enough water to put out a fire,” Jean Zanella Dyer, Regional Water Authority Vice President for Service and Technology, said. “Opening a string of hydrants can threaten an entire neighborhood. The safety and well-being of the greater New Haven area residents is our main concern. That’s why we urge consumers not to open hydrants.”
The Regional Water Authority works closely with various departments in the City of New Haven and surrounding communities to reduce the number of unauthorized hydrant openings. Sprinkler caps were installed on many hydrants so they can be used safely to keep kids cool. Residents should call their community based police substation to find the hydrant in their area which has a sprinkler cap installed.
Be cool – don’t open any fire hydrants this summer. Call 203-946-6237 to report an illegally opened hydrant.