Today is the official start of summer, but you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise given the recent bout of blazing temps.

That heat prompted some residents to open hydrants—a neighborhood tradition that's more dangerous than you think, and definitely illegal.

That's the bad news. The good news: our friends over at Parks and Recreation have tons of pools and spraygrounds open and waiting for you to stop by and cool off.

With more than 70 facilities, we can boast more pools and spray grounds per resident than any other city in the U.S.

That means you and your friends don't have to open fire hydrants when the weather gets hot, or risk swimming in our unpredictable rivers, where drowning is always a risk.

What's so bad about cracking open hydrants? We're glad you asked...

text: “if a hydrant is damaged...” and illustration of a firefighter standing next to a hydrant with a broken valve, shrugging and looking confused and helpless because he can't do his job!

Four reasons opening hydrants is dangerous:

  • A fire hydrant opened at full pressure can cause serious bodily harm, or even death, should a child, or an adult get pushed into oncoming traffic while playing in front of the hydrant
  • Illegally opening a hydrant can break the valves and make the hydrant useless when it's needed most—during a fire on your block
  • The huge amount of water coming out of hydrants can flood local basements and cause problems with gas and electric lines
  • Operating hydrants the wrong way can break the water mains that are under your street when not properly turned on or off

So remember...

Don't sweat it – there are better ways to keep your cool!

See the full list of local pool openings here or use this interactive map to find a pool or sprayground near you.

Another great option for beating the heat (besides drinking plenty of Philly's top-quality tap)? Head to a local library and cool off while checking out the wide range of free resources the Free Library of Philadelphia provides for residents.

For more tips about staying safe in the heat, here's a helpful read from the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management.

If you see a hydrant open on your block, report it right away by calling our emergency hotline at 215.685.6300


Check out this amazing 1986 rap video PWD put out to warn people about hydrant dangers more than 30 years ago.