Tips For Staying Safe During The Coming Heat Wave In Harlem

June 14, 2017

mark levine 2By Rep. Mark Levine

With expected temperatures of 95 degrees or higher, the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory from Harlem to Hollis starting this afternoon until 8pm tomorrow. To help New Yorkers escape the heat, the City will open cooling centers throughout the five boroughs through 8pm this evening, and beginning at 8am tomorrow.You can find your nearest cooling center here, or visit one of the many public pools throughout the city.

Heat waves are dangerous, particularly to children, seniors and people with cardiovascular disease. Here are some useful tips to help keep your family, your community, and the environment safe:

  • If possible, stay out of the sun. When in the sun, wear sunscreen (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.

  • Use an air conditioner if you have one. Set the thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.

  • If you do not have an air conditioner, keep rooms well-ventilated with open windows and fans. Consider going to a public pool, air-conditioned store, mall, movie theater, or cooling center.

  • Fans work best at night, when they can bring in cooler air from outside.

  • Make a special effort to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, young children, and people with disabilities and access and functional needs. Many older New Yorkers live alone and could suffer unnecessarily in the heat because they are isolated from friends and family.

  • Drink fluids – particularly water – even if you do not 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 during periods of intense summer heat.

  • Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours – 11 AM to 4 PM. If you must engage in strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 AM and 7 AM.

  • Conserve Water : Repair leaky faucets, Take short showers; only fill bathtubs halfway when taking a bath, Run dishwasher and washing machines only when they are full, etc.

  • While it may be tempting to cool yourself off by opening a fire hydrant, open hydrants can lower local water pressure, hinder the efforts of firefighters, and endanger the lives of children who may be propelled into traffic by the force of the water. An open hydrant wastes 1,000 gallons of water per minute, overtaxes the sewer system and causes flooding of City streets.

    • If you observe a running fire hydrant, please notify the City by calling 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115), or contacting 311 online with its location.

    • If you experience low or no water pressure, notify the City by calling 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115), or contacting 311 online.

    • “Spray caps,” which can be obtained from your local fire station, can be installed on any fire hydrant to produce a circular spray of cool water, reducing output to a safe level while still providing relief from the heat. To obtain a spray cap, visit your local firehouse. You must be 18 or older to obtain a spray cap.

  • Conserve Power: During periods of intense electrical usage, such as on hot, humid days, it is important to conserve as much energy as possible to avoid brownouts and other electrical disruptions. While diminishing your power usage may seem like an inconvenience, your cooperation will help to ensure that utilities can continue to provide uninterrupted electrical service.
  • Help Reduce Ozone Levels: Avoid driving, especially on hot summer days. Use mass transit, walk, or carpool instead.

You can find other useful resources to help you beat the heat here, or call 311. My office is also here to help so don’t hesitate to contact us at 212-928-6814.

This post was originally posted on Harlem World Magazine, Inc., on June 23rd, 2016.

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