Providence Water, although a department of the City of Providence, is regulated by state and federal agencies in addition to city policies and procedures. The quality of our treated drinking water is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Rhode Island Department of Health. Our revenue and rate structure is regulated by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.

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Top 10 Reasons Not to Open a Fire Hydrant to Beat the Heat

Here are the Top Ten reasons why you shouldn’t open a hydrant to stay cool during high heat:

10. Opening hydrants to cool off wastes huge amounts of treated drinking water.  Hydrants are designed to help firefighters put out life threatening fires and as a result, more than 1,800 gallons of water can spew from an opened hydrant every minute it is open.  Water is a precious and limited resource and should be used wisely.

9. Hydrant use can cause reductions in water pressure throughout other sections of the water system.  Using hydrants as public sprinklers can put other areas of the system in jeopardy if there isn’t enough pressure when needed – for instance, if pressure is needed to fight a fire in another area of the system.

8. Attempting to force open a hydrant can cause internal damage to the hydrant.  This is especially important if you can’t get the hydrant open and move on to try another one.  Although hydrants are inspected annually, firefighters might need to use a hydrant damaged this way and lose precious time when every second counts trying to save property and lives.

7. Hydrant use can stir sediment in water mains and cause unnecessary instances of discolored water to customers in surrounding areas.

6. Open fire hydrants can seriously undermine streets, sidewalks, and private property, and rack up some serious repair costs, both to municipalities and to private property owners.

5. Open hydrants can create traffic nightmares when oncoming vehicles try to negotiate flooded streets filled with people and other vehicles.

4. The raw force of water gushing from an open hydrant can cause serious injury to a person who hasn’t been trained in the proper method to safely open a hydrant.  Caps on the hydrant can cannonball into the body of someone standing nearby.

3. Small children playing in hydrant flow can be seriously injured, or worse, by the force of the water stream.  Flow from an open hydrant can easily knock a large adult to the ground.

2. Fire hydrants are installed to fight fires – not to be used for recreation.  When the Providence Water system was first constructed in the 1800’s, it was done so for the single purpose of fire protection.

And the number one reason not to open a hydrant to cool off:

1. For all the aforementioned reasons, unauthorized use of a fire hydrant is against the law!  In fact, if you see anyone who shouldn’t be attempting to open a fire hydrant doing so – call your local police.