5 things that'll scare kids from opening fire hydrants

There are two approaches: Tell the truth and hope it works or lie through your teeth and marvel at its success

By Michael Morse

A fire hydrant is a magnificent and complex machine that allows firefighters to tap into a municipal water system to assist in extinguishing a fire. Yet, during the upcoming steamy days of summer, the children will insist upon opening hydrants to play in the powerful and deadly streams.

How do we stop this dangerous practice? Keeping kids safe while maintaining adequate water pressure for the safety of the populace is the goal, the means of delivering the message can vary.


By doing a proper analysis of the character, intelligence and willingness to cooperate you can decide which path best suits your needs. You could tell them the truth, and give them reasons why opening a fire hydrant is a bad idea.

5. Pressure blast
The force of the water coming from the hydrant port is enough to knock an adult to the ground, and can badly injure a child.

4. Flying objects
An untrained person opening a hydrant runs the risk of injury from the port, which has the potential to “cannonball” off of the hydrant upon opening.

3. Water damage
Water from open hydrants pooling in streets causes significant damage to sidewalks, roadways and private property.

2. Pressure drop
Using fire hydrants for recreational purposes causes unsafe reductions in water pressure. A hydrant is a tool, not a toy.

1. Big house
Unauthorized use of a fire hydrant is against the law. Severe penalties, fines and imprisonment could result from such irresponsible actions.

Or, you could tell them the real truth.

5. Jaws
Occasionally, Tiger Sharks swim out of the 3 1/2-inch port.

4. Golden shower
Crews from the water supply board fill random hydrants with pee to discourage illegal use.

3. Tetanus shots
The water from the hydrants is filled with rusty fish hooks.

2. Identity crisis
The water from the hydrants is chemically treated to cause boys to turn into girls and girls into boys.

1. Blue lips
The water is freaking cold. 

If need be, there is one absolute and final way to discourage illegal fire hydrant use: once a year, just as spring turns to summer and the heat begins in earnest, make an announcement using any means necessary that there will be free ice cream and flowing water at every fire hydrant in the city at noon on Saturday. When the minions have gathered, tell them there will be no ice cream.

Instead, set the hydrants on fire. Crude, but effective. Whatever works.

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