Fact Sheet: With Above Average Temperatures Expected Through Wednesday, Mayor de Blasio Urges New Yorkers to Take Steps to Protect Themselves and Help Others who may be at Increased Risk for Heat Illness

July 28, 2015

NEW YORK—With heat indices expected to rise into the mid to high 90s through Wednesday, the National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory from noon today until 6PM on Wednesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio today urged New Yorkers to take steps to protect themselves and help others who may be at increased risk from the heat, including vulnerable individuals such as seniors and those with chronic health problems. Additionally, an Air Quality Alert is in effect today until 11:00 p.m. New Yorkers should use air conditioning to stay cool, go to a place that has air conditioning if it is not available at home, drink water at regular intervals, and limit strenuous activity, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

“The severe heat our city will experience in the coming days is extremely dangerous. I urge all New Yorkers to think first and foremost about their safety and the safety of those around them by checking on family, friends, neighbors, senior citizens, and those with chronic health conditions,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We are reminding all New Yorkers to make smart decisions by staying cool, hydrated, and out of the sun until this heat wave passes.”

To help New Yorkers beat the heat, New York City will open cooling centers on Tuesday and Wednesday around the five boroughs, including at senior centers, NYCHA facilities, and parks. Call 311 or go to nyc.gov/oem to find the nearest center, including accessible facilities.

New York City is also extending hours at City pools on Tuesday and Wednesday to 8:00 pm. Visit nyc.gov/parks to find the nearest pool.

Mayor de Blasio urges New Yorkers to take the following precautions during this week’s warm weather:

CHECK ON THOSE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TO THE HEAT:

  • A small but crucial gesture can help ensure that we all have a safe and healthy summer: Get to know your neighbors, and contact neighbors and relatives – in person or by phone – at least twice a day during heat waves.
  • Pay special attention to the elderly, the very young, and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition. New Yorkers should check in on older neighbors who may be isolated from friends and family.
  • The Department of Homeless Services has issued a Code Red Alert and has enhanced outreach. Single adults can present to any shelter to seek refuge from the heat. Transportation is also available to cooling centers via DHS outreach teams, which are checking on vulnerable, at-risk clients with greater frequency.
  • The Department for the Aging has opened senior centers as cooling centers, and home care agencies are on the lookout for clients who may need assistance. Case management agencies are also calling through home-bound seniors. Visit nyc.gov/oem for the nearest cooling center.
  • Air conditioning is the best way to keep cool when it is hot outside, but some people do not have an air conditioner or do not turn it on when they need it. Encourage them to use air conditioning. Help them get to an air-conditioned place if they cannot stay cool at home. Make sure they are drinking enough water.

ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY TIPS FOR PROTECTION AGAINST THE HEAT:

  • Stay out of the sun and avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • 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 consult their physician.
  • Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid beverages containing alcohol and/or caffeine.
  • Eat small, frequent meals.
  • Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours: 11 am to 4 pm. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 am and 7 am.
  • If possible, go to an air-conditioned building for several hours during the hottest parts of the day.
  • Cool down with a cool bath or shower.
  • 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.
  • Cover all exposed skin with an SPF sunscreen (15 or above) and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and head.
  • Never leave your children or pets in the car.

For more information, visit nyc.gov/health/heathealth.

FACTS ABOUT HEAT ILLNESS:

Heat illness is serious. Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. The added stress caused by heat can also aggravate heart or lung disease even without symptoms of heat illness. The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:

  • Do not have or do not use air conditioning
  • Are age 65 or older
  • Have chronic medical or mental health conditions
  • Take certain medications, which can disrupt the regulation of body temperature
  • Are confined to their beds, have trouble with being mobile, or are unable to leave their homes
  • Are overweight
  • Consume alcohol or illegal drugs

Know the warning signs of heat stress. 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.

Call 911 immediately if you have, or someone you know has:

  • Hot dry skin OR cold clammy skin
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion, disorientation, or dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting

IMPROPER FIRE HYDRANT USE:

The improper opening of fire hydrants wastes 1,000 gallons of water per minute, causes flooding on city streets, and can lower water pressure to dangerous levels and hamper the ability of FDNY 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:

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 like an inconvenience, your cooperation will help to ensure that utilities are able to continue to provide uninterrupted electrical service to you and your neighbors.

  • Set air conditioners at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A 75º F setting uses 18 percent more electricity and a 72º F setting uses 39 percent more electricity. This setting allows for sufficient cooling while still conserving electrical power.
  • Use an air conditioner only when home. If you want to cool your room before you arrive home, use a timer to have it come on no more than one-half hour before you arrive.
For more information on coping with the heat, visit: www.nyc.gov/beattheheat or view NYC Emergency Management’s Beat the Heat video here.
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