he New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) today announced that cooling centers will be open in all five boroughs on Wednesday, June 20th, at 9:00 AM. They will remain open during regular business hours. According to the National Weather Service, the heat index may be expected to exceed 100 degrees tomorrow. We urge you to please visit the website listed below or our NYC Council website link to OEM, to find the cooling center nearest to your constituents needs.
Cooling centers are public places, such as, NYC Public Libraries, Shopping Malls, Department for the Aging (DFTA) senior centers, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and Salvation Army community centers where air conditioning is available. I have also attached locations and hours of operation of alternative places to beat the heat.
To find the cooling center nearest to you, call 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115), or use OEM’s Cooling Center Finder at http://gis.nyc.gov/oem/cc/index.htm, beginning tonight at 8:00PM. OEM recommends checking the online Cooling Center Finder or calling 311 just before leaving your home to ensure the center nearest to you is open.
Heat illness is serious and most people who die from the heat in NYC are exposed in homes without air conditioning. The added stress caused by heat can aggravate heart or lung disease even without symptoms of heat illness. The best thing you can do to prevent heat illness is get to a cool place. New Yorkers are advised to call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you feel sick and keep a close eye on family, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly. Heat illness symptoms are often not specific and include:
- Hot, dry skin or cold, clammy skin
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Confusion, hallucinations, disorientation
The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:
- Are younger than five or older than 64
- Have chronic medical or mental health conditions such as diabetes or substance abuse disorders.
- Are overweight
- Take certain medications which can disrupt the regulation of body temperature
- Are unable to leave their homes or confined to their beds
- Drink alcohol use drugs which can impair their judgment.
If you have a medical condition or take medication, check with your physician about precautions you should take during hot weather. Family, friends, and neighbors who are at high risk will need extra help during this period of extreme heat. Think about how you can help someone you know get to an air-conditioned place.
Ready New York – Beat the Heat Tips:
- Use an air conditioner if you have one.
- If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a cooler place such as an air-conditioned family’s, friend’s or neighbor’s home, store, mall, museum, or movie theater, or, visit a cooling center.
- Use a fan if the air is not too hot. Fans work best at night to bring in cooler air from outside. Use a fan only when the air conditioner is on or the windows are open.
- Drink plenty of water or other fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.
- Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car.
- Avoid strenuous activity, or plan it for the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. or in the evening. If you exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are used to regular exercise, just keep in mind the symptoms of heat illness when exercising and stop or rest if any occur.
- Be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool – sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick.
- Check on your at-risk family, friends and neighbors often and help them get to a cool place.
Spray Caps & Fire Hydrants:
- Opening fire hydrants without spray caps is wasteful and dangerous. Illegally opened hydrants can lower water pressure, which can cause problems at hospitals and other medical facilities and hinder fire-fighting by reducing the flow of water to hoses and pumps. The powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can also push children into oncoming traffic. Call 311 to report an open hydrant.
- Hydrants can be opened legally if equipped with a City-approved spray cap. One illegally opened hydrant wastes up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute, while a hydrant with a spray cap only puts out around 25 gallons per minute. Spray caps can be obtained by someone 18 or over, free of charge at local firehouses.
- During periods of extremely hot and humid weather, electricity use rises, which can cause power disruptions.
- Set your air conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees.
- Use air conditioners only when you’re home, and only in rooms you’re using. If you want to cool your home before you return, set a timer that turns on no more than 30 minutes before you arrive.
- Turn off nonessential appliances.
- To receive free notifications about power outages affecting your neighborhood sign up for Notify NYC at www.nyc.gov/notifynyc.
For more information on coping with extreme heat, see the Ready New York: Beat the Heat guide at www.nyc.gov/oem. For more information on the health effects associated with extreme heat visit www.nyc.gov/health.