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Here's How to Open a Fire Hydrant Without Getting Arrested

By Emilie Ruscoe | July 28, 2015 11:22am | Updated on June 24, 2016 12:32pm
 A man rides his bike down 108 Street in Corona Queens past this fire hydrant to stay cool on Friday, July 19, 2013.
A man rides his bike down 108 Street in Corona Queens past this fire hydrant to stay cool on Friday, July 19, 2013.
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John Taggart/DNAinfo

As we emotionally prepare ourselves for the upcoming heat wave, it's good to know how to *legally* pull off a quintessential city summer tradition: opening up the fire hydrant on your block.

Stop by your local fire station and request a fire hydrant spray cap, which makes the hydrant flow like a sprinkler while vastly reducing the water waste.

Hydrants opened without spray caps pose a problem for the fire department because — since they release 1,000 gallons of water per minute — they can reduce water pressure at other hydrants in the event of a fire. You can get a fine up to $1,000, or go to jail for up to 30 days if you illegally open a fire hydrant.

As long as you're 18 years old or older and can clearly identify which hydrant you'd like open, the FDNY will come by, open the hydrant and place a spray cap on it for you. You can have it open until it starts to get dark out, or until you're done with it before then and notify your fire station.

You don't need to do anything more formal, though it's advisable as a courtesy to notify your neighbors whose cars might get wet.

So make this happen on the next hot day — you'll stay cool, and it's a certain way to win the approval of any and all neighborhood kids.