BROOKLYN - The Hydrant Education Action Team (HEAT) is raising awareness about the illegal use of fire hydrants.

The group was recognized by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Wednesday while it kicked off this year’s Summer Fire Hydrant Abuse Prevention Campaign.

Volunteers have worked for six summers to spread the word about the dangers of opening fire hydrants without spray caps. Since the program began, the number of reported illegally opened hydrants has decreased by about 50 percent.

Brooklyn residents can still use hydrants as their own sprinkler system by picking up a free city-approved cap at their local fire department.