There’s a reason they call it the dog days of summer. All across the US thermometer readings have been on the rise. During a heat wave, people are jumping in pools, using fans, eating popsicles, and doing anything they can to stay cool. If you’re from an urban area, you might open up a fire hydrant to beat the heat. Unfortunately, this can cause all types of problems throughout the community.

Imagine if you were completely hot and sweaty from just running in 93 degree temperatures and couldn’t wait to cool down in a refreshing shower. Then you turn on the shower and find out there’s only a trickle of water. To try and calm down and rehydrate you throw a few ice cubes in a glass. You turn on the kitchen faucet and find out the water has a slight brownish tint. At this point, you’re enraged because you can’t get a shower let alone enjoy a simple glass of water. The problem is low water pressure which is one of the biggest issues associated with opening fire hydrants.

Water pressure should be around 70-100 pounds per square inch. But when a fire hydrant is open, it can reduce a main’s pressure to less than 25 pounds per square inch. Low water pressure is more than just an annoyance to neighbors. It makes fighting fires extremely difficult and in multiple story structures virtually impossible. Additionally, firefighters must first turn off open fure hydrants before using them to fight a fire. They can’t hook up their hose until the water stops flowing. This gives the fire more time to spread therefore causing more damage.

Next time you see kids playing around a fire hydrant, remember that they’re cooling down but low water pressure problems are heating up.

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