Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Opening Fires Hydrants Creates Hazards

With Detroit in the midst of another heat wave, now seems like a good time for me to remind everyone in the Warrendale neighborhood that, while opening a fire hydrant may be a lot of fun, it does create a public safety hazard. The illegal use of hydrants can cause the city to experience dangerously low water pressure, which affects the water pressure available to fight fires and the water pressure available to all residents.

An open fire hydrant can pump 1,000 gallons of water per minute.  The force of that water can cause injuries, push a child playing into oncoming traffic, or even affect a motorist, causing serious traffic accidents.  Tampering with hydrants may also result in damage to the fire hydrant stem (the turn-on valve), which could make it difficult for Detroit firefighters to turn the hydrants on in the event of a fire.  In addition, the repeated illegal turning on and off of fire hydrants can cause increased volumes and pressures, which can stress water mains that ultimately lead to water main breaks below the surface.

That's the bad news. The good news is that there is a legal alternative.

"When temperatures rise above 80 degrees, residents can contact the Detroit Recreation Department to send out an authorized representative to turn on the nearest and safest fire hydrant for a street shower," said Chief Katrina Butler from the Detroit Fire Department Community Relations Division.

Warrendale residents can call the Northwest District, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. to request a street shower. Their phone number is (313) 628-0940 or (313) 628-0942.

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