FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
NYC OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT ANNOUNCES COOLING CENTERS WILL BE OPEN WEDNESDAY, JULY 4, AND THURSDAY, JULY 5
The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) today advised that cooling centers will be open on Wednesday, July 4, and Thursday, July 5, to help New Yorkers stay cool as hot weather continues to affect the city. According to the latest National Weather Service forecast, the heat index is expected to reach or exceed 95 degrees Wednesday and Thursday.
Cooling centers are public places, such as Department for the Aging (DFTA) senior centers, and New York City Housing Authority and Salvation Army community centers, where air conditioning is available. Being in an air conditioned place is the best protection against heat illness. To find the cooling center closest to you, call 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115) or visit OEM’s Cooling Center Locator at www.nyc.gov/oem. Note: The Cooling Center Finder will be available as of 6 AM tomorrow morning.
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. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room right away if you have these symptoms:
- Hot, dry skin or cold, clammy skin
- Rapid heart beat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Confusion, dizziness, or disorientation
The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:
- Are younger than five, or older than 64
- Have chronic medical or mental health conditions
- Take certain medications, which can disrupt the regulation of body temperature
- Are confined to their beds or unable to leave their homes
- Are overweight
If you have a medical condition or take medications, check with your physician about precautions during hot weather. Family, friends, and neighbors who are at high risk for heat illness may need extra help. Check on those you know who may need help and make sure they are using air conditioning, or help them get to an air-conditioned place.
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 an air-conditioned store, mall, museum or movie theater. Or, visit a cooling center.
- Use a fan if the air is not too hot. Fans work best at night to bring in cooler air from outside. Use a fan only when the air conditioner is on or the windows are open.
- Drink plenty of water or other fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, or high amounts of sugar.
- If possible, stay out of the sun. When you’re in the sun, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible, wear a hat to protect your face and head, and use sunscreen (at least SPF 15) to protect exposed skin.
- 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.
- Be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool – sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick.
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.
- 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.
For more information on coping with 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.
Judith Graham Kane (OEM) (718) 422-4888
Jean Weinberg (DOHMH) (347) 396-4061
Chris Miller (DFTA) (212) 442-1111