Update New York City Emergency Management System (NYC EMS) and Department of Health guidelines for New Yorkers on how to beat the heat
“As these last days of summer bring blistering heat, I urge all New Yorkers to follow public health advice and take care of each other,” said New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Zack Aescol. “This weather puts the elderly, children and anyone with chronic health conditions at increased risk and it is important that we all take measures to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”
To help New Yorkers shed the heat, the city will open cooling centers throughout the five boroughs from Tuesday through Wednesday. Cooling centers locations may have changed from last year. To find a cooling center, including accessible facilities closest to you, city officials advise New Yorkers to call 311, (212) 639 9675 for Video Relay Service or TTY (212) 504 4115, or visit City Cooling Center Finder (finder.nyc.gov/coolingcenters).
New York City opens cooling centers when the heat index is expected to be 95 degrees or more for two or more consecutive days, or if the heat index is expected to be 100 degrees or more for any period of time. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, city officials are reminding New Yorkers to stay home if they are feeling sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19.
New Yorkers can now also find pet-friendly cooling centers throughout the five boroughs. The city has also partnered with Petco to provide New Yorkers and their pets with additional spaces to cool off in the heat. All locations can be found in the city cooling center finder. As a reminder, service animals are always allowed in cooling stations.
“Heat can be deadly,” said Health Commissioner Dr Ashwin Vasan. “New Yorkers—especially infants, the elderly, and people with chronic and mental health conditions—should stay calm, take it slow, and seek help if they experience signs of heat-related illness such as clammy skin, confusion, and nausea. Pay attention to how you feel because the guidance you get It is important for your body; please listen.”
City officials said most heat-related deaths occur in the city after exposure to heat in homes without air conditioning. They said air conditioning is the best way to stay safe and healthy when it’s hot outside, but some people at risk of heat illness don’t have air conditioning or don’t turn it on. City officials are urging New Yorkers to take steps to protect themselves and help others who may be at increased risk from the heat. For more information, including heat health advice and warning signs of heat illness, visit nyc.gov/health or nyc.gov/beattheheat.
City officials also said that outdoor pools in New York City will be on their regular schedule. Standard pool protocols apply – bring your wetsuit, towel and padlock to secure your belongings. Swimming pool hours are 11 AM to 3 PM and 4 PM to 7 PM, 7 days a week. More information can be found at nyc.gov/parks/pools.
A citywide map of outdoor cooling options (including spray showers, drinking fountains, and more) can be found online at the Cool It! New York City.
During extreme heat, city officials said the Department of Social Services (DSS) issues a code red alert. During Code Reds, shelter is available to anyone experiencing homelessness, as those experiencing heat-related discomfort also have access to a designated cooling area. DSS staff and not-for-profit agency-contracted outreach teams dealing with individuals experiencing homelessness 24/7 at 365 are redoubling their efforts during extreme heat, with a focus on connecting vulnerable New Yorkers experiencing unprotected homelessness to services and shelter.
Additional health and safety tips for heat protection
- Go to an air-conditioned place, even if only for a few hours.
- Stay out of the sun and avoid extreme changes in temperature.
- Avoid strenuous activities, especially during peak sun hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the cooler part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4am and 7am.
- Remember: drink water, rest, and stay in a shady place if you work outside or if your work is hard. Drink water every 15 minutes even if you’re not thirsty, rest in the shade, and pay attention to others on your team. The employer is required to provide water, rest and shade when doing work during extreme heat.
- Wear lightweight, light-coloured clothing when indoors without air conditioning or outside.
- Drink fluids, especially water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Your body needs water to stay cool. People on a fluid-restricted diet or taking diuretics should first talk with a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Cool down with a cool bath or shower.
- Engage in activities that will keep you calm, such as going to the movies, walking in an air-conditioned mall, or swimming in a pool or beach.
- Make sure doors and windows have screens and, in apartments where children live, window guards. Air conditioners must be installed in buildings of more than six floors with supports so that they are secured and not fall on those below.
- Never leave your children or pets in the car, even for a few minutes.
Know the warning signs of heat illness
Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know has:
- Hot dry skin.
- difficulty breathing.
- fast heartbeat;
- Confusion, disorientation, or dizziness.
- Vomiting and nausea.
If you or someone you know feels weak or faint, go to a cool place and drink water. If there is no improvement, call your doctor or 911.
Keeping your pets safe
- Avoid dehydration: Pets can become dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water.
- Walk your dog in the morning and evening: When the temperature is too high, don’t let your dog stay on hot asphalt. Your pet’s body can heat up quickly, And claw pads can burn.
- Know when your pet is in danger: Symptoms of pet overheating include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and breathing rates, drooling, mild weakness, unresponsiveness, or even collapse.
Improper use of a fire hydrant
City officials said improper opening of fire hydrants wastes 1,000 gallons of water per minute, causes flooding in city streets, and lowers water pressure to dangerous levels, hampering the city’s fire department’s ability to safely and quickly fight fires.
Use “spray caps” to reduce faucet output to a safe 25 gallons per minute while still providing relief from the heat. To obtain a spray cap, an adult 18 years of age or older with appropriate identification can go to their local fire station and ask for one.
Energy saving tips
City officials said that during periods of heavy electricity use, such as hot and humid days, it is important to conserve power as much as possible to avoid blackouts and other electrical outages. Although reducing your energy use may seem inconvenient, your cooperation will help ensure that utility providers can provide uninterrupted electrical service to you and your neighbours, especially those who use electrically powered medical equipment or are at risk of heat-related illness and death:
- Set the air conditioner to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, or “low.”
- Run appliances like ovens, washers, dryers, and dishwashers early in the morning or late at night when it’s cooler outside to reduce the heat and humidity in your home.
- Close the doors to keep cool air in and hot air out while the air conditioner is running.
- Keep shades, blinds, and drapes closed. About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes in through windows.
- Turn off your air conditioners, lights, and other appliances when you’re not home, and use a timer or smart technology to turn your air conditioner on about half an hour before you get home. Keep the air conditioner filters clean.
- If you run a business, keep your door closed while the air conditioner is on.
- Tell your utility provider if you or someone you know relies on medical equipment that requires electricity.
For more information, visit nyc.gov/beattheheat. New Yorkers are also encouraged to stay informed by signing up for Notify NYC, the city’s free emergency communications program, to receive free emergency alerts and updates in your preferred language and format by visiting NYC.gov/NotifyNYC.