When the heat index is predicted to be dangerously high, New York City opens cooling centers in air-conditioned public community centers, senior centers, and public libraries to offer people relief from the heat. Call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115), or contact 311 online to find out whether a cooling center is open near you.
Listen to local weather forecasts and announcements from officials. NYC Emergency Management will send emergency alerts and updates to New Yorkers through various channels.
Stay Cool: Cooling Centers
When the heat index is predicted to be dangerously high, New York City opens cooling centers in air-conditioned public community centers, senior centers, and public libraries to offer people relief from the heat. Individuals who have no have access to a cool environment, and particularly those at risk for heat-related illness, should use the cooling centers during a heat wave. Call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115) or contact 311 online during a heat emergency to find the location of a cooling center or pool, or use our online finder to choose a cooling center near you.
Protect Your Health
- 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.
- Seniors and others who may be sensitive to extreme heat should contact friends, neighbors, or relatives at least twice a day during a heat wave.
- Drink fluids – particularly water – even if you do not feel thirsty.* Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible.
- 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.
- Cool showers or baths may be helpful, but avoid extreme temperature changes. Never take a shower immediately after becoming overheated – extreme temperature changes may make you ill, nauseated, or dizzy.
- During heat emergencies, the City may open cooling centers. If cooling centers are open, call 311 (212-639-9675 for Video Relay Service, or TTY: 212-504-4115), contact 311 online, or locate a center online.
- Know the signs of serious heat illness. Call 911 or go to the emergency room right away if you or someone you know has these symptoms of heat illness:
- Hot, dry skin OR cold, clammy skin
- Confusion, hallucinations, disorientation
- Unconscious or unresponsive
- Nausea or vomiting
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid, strong pulse
- Don't ignore the following warning signs of heat illness. If you or someone you know has warning signs of heat illness, get to a cool place, remove extra clothes, and drink lots of water:
- Heavy sweating
- Muscle cramps
- Light headedness, feeling faint
- Decreased energy
- Loss of appetite, nausea
- Hot summer weather can increase ozone levels and can negatively affect your health.
- Know the signs of high ozone levels:
- Chest pain
- Coughing and wheezing
- Lung and nasal congestion
- Labored breathing
- Eye and nose irritation
- Faster breathing
- Sore throat
- When ozone levels in the unhealthy range are expected, limit vigorous outdoor physical activity during the afternoon and early evening hours when ozone levels are at their highest.
- If you have asthma or other respiratory problems, stay in an area where it is cool and the air is filtered or air-conditioned.
- Outdoor exercise should be scheduled for the morning hours whenever possible.
*People with heart, kidney or liver disease, or on fluid restricted diets should check with their doctors before increasing fluid intake.