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Mayor de Blasio, NYC Emergency Management, Health Department and Department of Social Services Update New Yorkers on Extreme Heat

July 17, 2019

Video available at: https://youtu.be/o6fJ_5ogO0c


Heat Index expected to reach 109 degrees by Saturday; Cooling Centers open through Sunday

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell, Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot and Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks today updated New Yorkers on the extreme heat expected through the weekend. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures and heat indices will increase at the end of this week, reaching dangerously high levels by the weekend. Friday’s expected heat index is 98 degrees, Saturday’s expected heat index is 109 degrees, and Sunday’s expected heat index is 103 degrees. A Flash Flood Watch is also in effect from 2 PM Wednesday to 4 AM Thursday, due to heavy rain expected on Wednesday.

Due to the heat:

  • NYC Emergency Management has activated its Emergency Heat Plan.
  • Approximately 500 Cooling Centers have been activated around the city. To find a cooling center, including accessible facilities, New Yorkers should call 311 or visit the NYC Cooling Center Finder at www.nyc.gov/beattheheat.
  • From Friday through Sunday, pools will be open an extra hour: from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • DSS has issued a Code Red. During a Code Red, outreach teams redouble their efforts citywide, with a focus on vulnerable unsheltered New Yorkers and shelter is available system-wide to accommodate homeless New Yorkers who are brought to shelter by outreach teams or who walk in seeking respite from heat.
  • In order to conserve energy during periods of high demand, New Yorkers should reduce personal energy usage by set air conditioners on low or to 78 degrees, turn off air conditioners when not home and close their doors.
  • To help keep New Yorkers hydrated, the Department of Environmental Protection will have Water-on-the-Go portable drinking water fountains positioned at busy pedestrian areas across the five boroughs from Friday to Sunday.

“Extreme heat is dangerous, period,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I urge all New Yorkers to exercise caution this weekend as temperatures near 100. Look out for your neighbors, friends and family and call 311 to find a cooling center. We are deploying all resources at our disposal to ensure New Yorkers remain safe and cool during extreme heat.”

“Extreme heat is an underestimated and deadly hazard. The best way to beat the heat is to use an air-conditioner or to visit one of the City’s Cooling Centers,” NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said. “NYC Emergency Management will continue to work closely with the National Weather Service to monitor weather conditions throughout the period of extreme heat.”

“Hot weather is dangerous and can kill. People with chronic physical and mental health conditions should use air conditioning if they have it, and get to a cool, air conditioned place if they don’t,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “During times like these, we all need to look out for each other. Be a buddy and check on your family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk and help them get to a Cooling Center or another cool place – even if for a few hours.”

“24/7/365, our outreach teams are engaging New Yorkers in need, offering them services, shelter, and a helping hand,” said NYC Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “During extreme weather, we redouble our efforts citywide to assist our most vulnerable neighbors and ensure they can access crucial resources, like cooling centers, cold water, and other essentials, as we continue to encourage each individual to ultimately accept services and move off the streets and subways to safer settings indoors.”

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. New Yorkers most at risk are those with chronic medical, mental health, cognitive or developmental conditions, take certain medicines that can affect body temperature, have limited mobility or are unable to leave their homes, are obese, or misuse alcohol or drugs.

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.
  • Drink water
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing when inside without air conditioning or outside.
  • Protect your pets and service animals when extreme heat strikes:
    • Never leave pets in the car. Temperatures rise quickly even with the windows down and can be deadly for your pet. Call 911 if you see a pet or child in a hot car.
    • Be sure your pets have access to plenty of water, especially when it is hot.
  • Participate in activities that will keep you cool, such as going to the movies, shopping at a mall, or swimming at a pool or beach.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and, in apartments where children live, window guards.
  • Never leave your children or pets in the vehicle, even for a few minutes.
  • Check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are seniors, young children, and people with disabilities.

KNOW THE WARNING SIGNS OF HEAT ILLNESS:

Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know has:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Hot dry skin
  • 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.

ENHANCED HOMELESSNESS OUTREACH EFFORTS DURING EXTREME WEATHER:

DSS outreach teams are redoubling their efforts citywide, with a focus on vulnerable unsheltered New Yorkers and shelter is available system-wide to accommodate homeless New Yorkers who are brought to shelter by outreach teams or who walk in seeking respite from heat. During heat emergencies, experienced outreach teams work to connect homeless New Yorkers with the following resources:

  • Shelters: During a Code Red, shelter is available system-wide to accommodate anyone who is reasonably believed to be homeless and is brought to a shelter by outreach teams. Accommodations are also available for walk-ins.
  • Safe havens and stabilization beds: Chronically homeless individuals may be transported directly to these low-barrier housing programs.
  • Drop-in Centers: During a Heat Emergency, DSS/DHS conducts additional outreach to unsheltered New Yorkers and DSS/DHS drop-in centers with a cool space will be open to serve as many clients as possible. Homeless individuals experiencing heat-related discomfort are also able to access the designated cooling area at any shelter.
  • Street homeless outreach: Teams will contact vulnerable individuals on their Code Red Priority Lists:
  • At least once during the Code Red Level 1 (when the forecasted heat index reaches 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for one day or more or heat indices are forecasted to reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher at any point for two consecutive days or more) beginning at 12:00 pm. 
  • No less than twice during Code Red Level 2 (occurs when the forecasted heat index reaches 105 degrees or more Fahrenheit for any duration or heat indices are forecasted to reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit for four days or more) to encourage them to accept services, including transportation to shelter placement.
  • DSS coordinates borough-level Code Red efforts directly with partner City agencies, including but not limited to NYPD, DSNY, and the Parks Department.

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

In order to conserve energy during the heat wave, New Yorkers should set their air conditioners 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 depends on medical equipment that requires electricity.

"Extreme heat can be deadly for those with underlying medical conditions and it makes the dangerous work of Firefighters and EMS members even more difficult," said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. "I urge New Yorkers to take precautions during this heat wave, use 911 only if it is an emergency, check on your neighbors, and use a sprinkler cap when opening a hydrant to ensure water pressure remains strong when needed for fighting fires."

“The health and safety of NYCHA residents is paramount. We are prepared to respond to any service interruptions that our developments may face during the extreme heat,” said NYCHA General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo. “We continue to ask residents to report any issues by either using the MyNYCHA app or calling the Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771, so we can respond as soon as possible.”

“Extreme heat can be deadly. In this City, we look out for our neighbors, which is why we encourage all New Yorkers to check on older adults who are at increased risk during heat emergencies,” said New York City Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “Senior centers that operate as cooling centers are open to all ages and can save lives when temperatures are extremely high.”

"New York City has the best tasting tap water around and our portable Water-on-the-Go drinking water fountains will be available across the five boroughs this weekend to help keep people cool," said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza.  "We encourage New Yorkers to help conserve our critical water supply and not open fire hydrants illegally, as this can lower water pressure and make fire fighting more difficult."

“We want New Yorkers and visitors to stay safe and cool during the high temperatures,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “From tree shade and cooling centers to spray showers, pools and beaches, we encourage all to use our city resources to beat the heat in the coming days.”

All New Yorkers and visitors—including those with disabilities—should take extra precaution in the coming days as the temperature is expected to rise,” said Commissioner Victor Calise of the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities. “I encourage everyone to stay hydrated, use air conditioning or visit one of the many cooling centers around the city, and check on your neighbors to ensure that all of us stay safe and healthy."

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