Summer Heat Tips From NYC EM And The Health Department For New Yorkers From Harlem To Hollis

The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Health Department today advised New Yorkers to take precautions to beat the heat.

High heat and humidity are in the forecast Sunday through Wednesday with heat index values in the mid-90s to low 100s.

To help New Yorkers beat the heat, New York City will open cooling centers throughout the five boroughs beginning Sunday.


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Attendees must wear face coverings inside all cooling centers and adhere to social distancing guidelines. 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.

“The best ways to beat the heat are to stay cool and hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner John Scrivani. “If you don’t have an air conditioner at your home, the city has opened hundreds of cooling centers throughout the five boroughs. To find a cooling center near you, visit the Cooling Center Finder.”

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.

“Extreme heat can cause serious health risks, so I urge New Yorkers to take extra precautions during this heat wave,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “Stay in an air-conditioned location, drink fluids, and make sure to check in on your friends and family to help them find relief from the heat.”

New York City’s outdoor pools re-opened for the summer on Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Pool goers are reminded that face coverings are now required to enter the facility, and standard pool protocols apply—bring a bathing suit, towel, and lock to secure belongings.

Pool hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., seven 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 Cool It! NYC.

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.

Transportation to cooling centers is available via DSS outreach teams who engage with potentially homeless individuals every day of the year and intensify engagement during extreme heat.

To prepare for future hot weather, eligible New Yorkers can also obtain free air conditioners, including installation, through the New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).

More information on eligibility and how to apply can be found here or by calling 311 and asking about the cooling assistance benefit.

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. Window guards can prevent children from falling out of a window and suffering serious injuries or even death. Screens keep mosquitoes that can spread West Nile Virus out of your home and keep cats from falling out of windows.
  • 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.

Keeping Your Pets Safe

  • Avoid dehydration: Pets can dehydrate quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water.
  • Walk your dog in the morning and evening: When the temperature is very high, do not let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Your pet’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.
  • Know when your pet is in danger: Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, unresponsiveness, or even collapse.

Improper Fire Hydrant Use

The improper opening of fire hydrants wastes 1,000 gallons of water per minute, causes flooding on city streets, and lowers water pressure to dangerous levels, which hamper the ability of the Fire Department to fight fire safely and quickly.

Use “spray caps” to reduce hydrant output to a safe 25 gallons per minute while still providing relief from the heat.

obtain a spray cap, an adult 18 years or older with proper identification can go to his or her local firehouse and request one.

Energy-Saving Tips

During periods of intense electrical usage, such as on hot, humid days, it is important to conserve energy as much as possible to avoid brownouts and other electrical disruptions.

While diminishing your power usage may seem inconvenient, your cooperation will help to ensure that utility providers are able to provide uninterrupted electrical service to you and your neighbors, particularly those who use electric-powered medical equipment or are at risk of heat-related illness and death:

  • Set your air conditioner to 78°F or “low.”
  • Run appliances such as ovens, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers in the early morning or late at night when it is cooler outside to reduce heat and moisture in your home.
  • Close doors to keep cool air in and hot air out when the air conditioner is running.
  • Keep shades, blinds, and curtains closed. About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes through windows.
  • Turn off air conditioners, lights, and other appliances when not at home, and use a timer or smart technology to turn on your air conditioner about a half-hour before arriving home. Keep air conditioner filters clean.
  • If you run a business, keep your door closed while the air conditioner is running.
  • Tell your utility provider if you or someone you know depend on medical equipment that requires electricity.

For more information, visit NYC.gov/beattheheat. New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for Notify NYC, the City’s free emergency communications program.

To sign up for Notify NYC, download the free mobile application, visit NYC.gov/NotifyNYC, call 311, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter.

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Harlem World Magazine is about living your best life and style around the block and around the world of Harlem.

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