Can You Really Open a Fire Hydrant To Cool Off?

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It’s an iconic scene from movies and pictures: Running through the spray of a fire hydrant on a hot day. Unfortunately, this isn’t a real-life scenario most of the time.

While some cities (including our own city of Columbus) have periodically opened fire hydrants during particularly hot months, it’s just as illegal to open one on your own as it is to park in front of one. This article from Avvo reviews some city codes that prevent citizens from opening fire hydrants. In Columbus, it’s illegal for a private citizen to open a fire hydrant without a permit from the fire official and the administrator of the Division of Water (1113.03)

City governments have good reason to keep the hydrants closed unless it’s an emergency or a special occasion. A fire hydrant releases thousands of gallons of water within minutes, and you can imagine how that might damage a city’s water supply, especially in the dry months. Open hydrants can also cause accidents by obscuring children from view of drivers.

The article gives a few suggestions to beat the heat without a hydrant: sprinklers, garden hoses, visiting the public pool, and spending time in the air-conditioned library. Have any other ideas on how to keep cool during the summer? Let us know in the comments!

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