Over the past 10 days, as temperatures remained steady in the mid to upper 90s, the streets of Woodhaven have been under water as residents desperate for relief open hydrants to cool off. However, they should be aware that opening hydrants can be a danger to themselves and others and should heed recently issued warnings from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
For starters, if you open a fire hydrant without a spray cap you are breaking the law. You can be fined up to $1,000, imprisoned for up to 30 days, or both.
Hydrants opened without a spray cap release a massive amount of water into the street. However, taking a few moments to put a spray cap on the hydrant not only makes it perfectly legal, but it cuts down on the amount of water used by 4,000 percent, down from over 1,000 to only 25 gallons per minute.
Adults 18 years or older can receive a spray cap free of charge from one of our local firehouses, either
Engine Company 293 (on 87th Street and 91st Avenue) or 294 (on 100th Street and Jamaica Avenue).
Not only will you avoid running afoul of the law, you will be acting in the best interest of other people’s safety. A large number of illegally opened fire hydrants in one neighborhood will reduce water pressure in that neighborhood, which could be fatal in the event of a fire.
Also, people tend to forget the tremendous force that water flows with from an uncapped hydrant. The force of the water can easily knock a child down or even into the path of a passing car. Such dangers evaporate with the use of a spray cap. And you still get all of the fun and cool benefits of the water. Play safe and play legal!
Outside of staying cool by standing in front of a open hydrant, if you are feeling the effects of the heat and need relief, please note that New York City operates air-conditioned cooling stations in senior centers, public libraries, and other locations.
These centers are opened by the city on days when the heat index is expected to be very high. The most reliable way to find out if a cooling center is open near you is to call 311 and give them your location.
We also ask our residents to keep an eye on their neighbors, particularly seniors and especially seniors that live alone. Pick up the phone and give them a call and make sure they are okay. Make sure that they are getting plenty of fluids and know where the nearest cooling center is. That’s what good neighbors do.
Speaking of good neighbors, the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association will be holding a Town Hall meeting near the end of this month, a rare Friday night meeting on July 27 at 7 p.m. at the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, 78-15 Jamaica Avenue. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (718) 296-3735 for more information.
The WRBA was formed in 1972. Its official purpose at the time remains its mission today: to foster "an interest in civic, social and political affairs." The WRBA advocates on behalf of the residents of Woodhaven, promotes neighborhood spirit by bringing together residents and local leaders, and seeks to engage all in the betterment of our community.
Find out more about the WRBA by coming to our next meeting, or by checking us out online at woodhaven-nyc.org.