FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, June 21, 2012
OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ANNOUNCES COOLING CENTERS WILL OPEN FRIDAY TO HELP NEW YORKERS BEAT THE HEAT
More Than 400 Cooling Centers Open Citywide Wednesday and Thursday, Now Open Through Friday Evening
The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) today advised that cooling centers will open Friday, June 22, to help New Yorkers stay cool as hot weather continues to affect the city. More than 400 city cooling centers were open yesterday and are open again today with extended hours. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to reach the low to mid-90s on Friday, with a heat index of 95 or higher. Cooling centers are air-conditioned places, such as Department for the Aging (DFTA) senior centers, Salvation Army community centers, and public libraries that are open to the public during heat emergencies. To find the cooling center closest to you, call 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115) or visit OEM’s Cooling Center Finder at www.nyc.gov/oem.
OEM reminds New Yorkers to take steps to prevent heat illness, check in on those who may be vulnerable to the heat, and conserve energy.
About Heat Illness
Heat illness is serious – heat kills more people than all other natural disasters combined. 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 or a developmental disability or dementia
- 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 or obese
- 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
Ready New York - Beat the Heat Tips:
- Use an air conditioner if you have one.
- If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a cooler place such as a store, mall, museum, movie theater, or friend/family member’s air-conditioned home, or visit a cooling center.
- Check on your at-risk family, friends and neighbors often and help them get to a cool place.
- Use a fan only when the air conditioner is on or the windows are open. Fans alone will not keep you cool when it is really hot outside. Fans work best at night to bring in cooler air from outside.
- Drink plenty of water or other fluids, even if you don’t 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.
- Avoid strenuous activity, or plan it for the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 AM and 7 AM or in the evening. If you exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are used to regular exercise, just keep in mind the symptoms of heat illness when exercising and stop or rest if any occur.
- Be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool – sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick.
- During periods of extremely hot and humid weather, electricity use rises, which can cause power disruptions.
- Set your air conditioner thermostat at 78 degrees.
- Use air conditioners only when you’re home, and only in rooms you’re using. If you want to cool your home before you return, set a timer that turns on no more than 30 minutes before you arrive.
- Turn off nonessential appliances.
To receive free notifications about power outages affecting your neighborhood sign up for Notify NYC at www.nyc.gov/notifynyc.
Spray Caps & Fire Hydrants:
Opening fire hydrants without spray caps is wasteful and dangerous. Illegally opened hydrants can lower water pressure, which can cause problems at hospitals and other medical facilities and hinder fire-fighting by reducing the flow of water to hoses and pumps. The powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can also push children into oncoming traffic. Call 311 to report an open hydrant.
Hydrants can be opened legally if equipped with a City-approved spray cap. One illegally opened hydrant wastes up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute, while a hydrant with a spray cap only puts out around 25 gallons per minute. Spray caps can be obtained by someone 18 or over, free of charge at local firehouses.
For more information on coping with extreme heat, see the Ready New York: Beat the Heat guide at www.nyc.gov/oem. For more information on the health effects associated with extreme heat visit www.nyc.gov/health.
Contact: Judith Graham Kane (OEM) 718-422-4888