Heat wave. Floods, electrocutions, mess…: why “street pooling” is not a good idea

Heat wave. Floods, electrocutions, mess…: why “street pooling” is not a good idea

By Fabrice Alves-Teixeira, Alexandra Giraud

“Street pooling” consists of opening fire hydrants to cool off when temperatures rise sharply. Illustration photo by GregReese – Pixabay.

The temptation can be great, especially during the heat waves that the Oise department is currently going through, and more generally France. “Street pooling” involves opening fire hydrants to generate a cooling fountain for personal use. In Beauvais on June 14, around twenty young people from the Argentine district had already opened a fire hydrant, leading to scuffles with the police.

This is indeed a completely illegal practice. The opening of such a water tank is considered to be of public utility during the urgent intervention of firefighters for example. Street pooling is therefore punished with a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, and a fine of 75,000 euros.

Injuries, floods, road accidents, electrocution…

Serious consequences can result from the opening of a fire hydrant. The police headquarters still referred to it last week on its social networks in a preventive video: street pooling remains a fundamentally dangerous practice.

The opening of a bollard, due to the pressure, can cause risks of electrocution (in the event of electrical equipment nearby), risks of road accidents (vehicles which could be surprised by a portion wet pavement in the middle of a heat wave), or the flooding of nearby businesses and homes.

The police headquarters also insists on the useless mobilization of the emergency services that this type of behavior entails. Last June, the firefighters of Oise also listed additional dangers, in particular for property and the risk of flooding of cellars for adjacent buildings. Worse: opening a fire hydrant could create a water shortage and hamper the action of firefighters in the event of a fire. However, fires break out more often and more easily in times of drought.

Finally, Street pooling also and above all represents a tremendous waste of drinking water: approximately 80 m3 of water per hour.


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