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Mayor de Blasio Urges New Yorkers to Stay Safe During Extreme Heat

July 7, 2016

More than 500 cooling centers open across the City today and Friday; call 311 or visit for locations

NYC pools operating with extended swimming hours through 8:00 PM today

NEW YORK–– Mayor Bill de Blasio today visited a cooling center in the Bronx to urge New Yorkers to stay cool and safe as temperatures remain in the mid to upper 90s. The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory through 7:00 PM Friday. Additionally, a Flash Flood Watch is in effect from noon to 6:00 PM today for potential thunderstorms that could bring flash flooding. An Air Quality Alert is also in effect until 11:00 PM today, signaling that people with respiratory problems should reduce their time outdoors. To help New Yorkers beat the heat, New York City has opened cooling centers throughout the five boroughs today and Friday. NYC pools will be operating with extended hours today to help New Yorkers keep cool.

“We’re experiencing extremely hot and potentially dangerous weather,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New Yorkers should take extra precautions to stay safe: stay indoors, use air conditioning and look in on seniors or anyone with a medical condition that may be vulnerable to heat illness. We’re urging all New Yorkers to be cautious, drink water and stay indoors when you can."

Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. On average in recent years, extreme heat events in New York City caused an estimated 120 excess deaths from natural causes associated with extreme heat, in addition to an average of between 10 and 15 heat-stroke deaths. The added stress caused by heat can aggravate chronic health problems like heart or lung disease or diabetes without specific symptoms of heat illness. Each summer, New York City records up to 450 heat-related emergency department visits and an average of 150 heat-related hospital admissions. The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is greatest for people who do not have or do not use air conditioning and suffer from chronic health conditions.


  • To stay cool, New Yorkers should use air conditioning or go to a cooling center or a place that has air conditioning if it is not available at home. Cooling centers are air conditioned facilities, such as libraries, community centers, senior centers and NYCHA facilities that are open to the public during heat emergencies. To find the nearest cooling center – including accessible facilities – call 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115) or visit NYC Emergency Management’s Cooling Center Finder at
  • 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.
  • NYC Parks has extended general swimming hours until 8:00 PM at Olympic and intermediate pools to help New Yorkers stay cool during the hot weather.
  • The Fire Department has hydrant spray caps available for any adult 18 years or older at a fire house upon request.
  • NYCHA has reached out to residents with heat-related safety tips.
  • NYC Water-on-the-Go fountains are available across all five boroughs. Schedules can be found here.

Mayor de Blasio urges New Yorkers to take additional precautions during the extreme 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. 
  • 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.


  • 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: 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4:00 AM and 7:00 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.


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 ages 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.


  • Avoid dehydration: Pets can dehydrate quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water. 
  • Exercise early and late: When the temperature is very high, don’t 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, stupor, or even collapse. Animals with flat faces like Pugs and Persian cats are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. They should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
  • Never leave a pet inside of a parked car on a hot day. Even with the windows open, extreme temperatures inside a parked can quickly lead to fatal heat stroke for your pet.
  • Keep cats safe by installing screens in your windows. Unscreened windows pose a real danger to cats that fall out of them often during summer months.
  • Prepare with your pet: Pet food, water, medications and supplies should always be included in your emergency preparedness plans and “go bags.”


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.


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 75 degrees Fahrenheit setting uses 18 percent more electricity and a 72 degree Fahrenheit 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: or view NYC Emergency Management’s Beat the Heat video here. The video is also available in both English and Spanish.

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