The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Health Department Monday advised New Yorkers to take precautions to beat the heat. The National Weather Service is expected to issue a heat advisory for New York City for Wednesday, July 20, and Thursday, July 21.
“High heat and humidity are in the forecast for Wednesday, with heat index values in the mid to upper 90s across the city. Heat indices in the mid to upper 90s are also anticipated on Thursday,” said NYC Emergency Management Department in a statement.
To help New Yorkers beat the heat, the City will open cooling centers throughout the five boroughs beginning Tuesday, July 19. Cooling center locations may have changed from last year. To find a cooling center, including accessible facilities closest to you, call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) or visit the City’s Cooling Center Finder. New York City opens cooling centers when the heat index is forecast to be 95 degrees or above for two or more consecutive days, or if the heat index is forecast to be 100 degrees or above for any time. Cooling centers located at older adult center sites will be reserved for older New Yorkers, ages 60 and older. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, individuals are reminded to stay at home if they are feeling sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
New Yorkers can now also find cooling centers that welcome pets throughout the five boroughs. The City has also partnered with Petco to offer New Yorkers and their pets additional spaces to seek relief from the heat. All locations can be found on the City’s Cooling Center Finder. As a reminder, service animals are always allowed at cooling centers.
“While we welcome the warm summer days, New York City is expecting dangerous heat and high humidity this week, and we encourage New Yorkers to take the necessary precautions to avoid exposure to the extreme conditions,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol.
In New York City, most heat-related deaths occur after exposure to heat in homes without air conditioners. Air conditioning is the best way to stay safe and healthy when it is hot outside, but some people at risk of heat illness do not have or do not turn on an air conditioner. “The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Health Department urge 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-related health tips and warning signs of heat illness, visit NYC.gov/health or NYC.gov/beattheheat,” the statement added.
During extreme heat, the Department of Social Services (DSS) issues a Code Red Alert. During Code Reds, shelter is available to anyone experiencing homelessness, where those experiencing heat-related discomfort are also able to access a designated cooling area. DSS staff and the agency’s not-for-profit contracted outreach teams who engage with individuals experiencing homelessness 24/7/365 redouble their efforts during extreme heat, with a focus on connecting vulnerable New Yorkers experiencing unsheltered homelessness to services and shelter.
New Yorkers who do not have an air conditioner can call 311 or check online to find out whether they qualify for a free air conditioner through the New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).
ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY TIPS FOR PROTECTION AGAINST THE HEAT
- Go to an air-conditioned location, even if for a few hours.
- Stay out of the sun and avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Remember: drink water, rest, and locate shade if you are working outdoors or if your work is strenuous. Drink water every 15 minutes even if you are not thirsty, rest in the shade, and watch out for others on your team. Your employer is required to provide water, rest, and shade when work is being done during extreme heat.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing when inside without air conditioning or outside.
- Drink fluids, particularly water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Those on fluid-restricted diets or taking diuretics should first speak with their doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Cool down with a cool bath or shower.
- Participate in activities that will keep you cool, such as going to the movies, walking in an air-conditioned mall, or swimming at a pool or beach.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and, in apartments where children live, and window guards. Air conditioners in buildings more than six stories must be installed with brackets so they are secured and do not fall on someone below.
- Never leave your children or pets in the vehicle, 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.
- Trouble breathing.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Confusion, disorientation, or dizziness.
- Nausea and vomiting.
If you or someone you know feels weak or faint, go to a cool place and drink water. If there is no improvement, call a doctor or 911.