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PR- 293-05
July 26, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno today announced the opening of cooling centers throughout all five boroughs to give New Yorkers relief from the extreme summer heat.  Cooling centers are facilities that are air-conditioned and open to the public. Many senior and community centers serve as cooling centers. The heat index in the City is likely to reach 100 degrees today.  New Yorkers can call 311 or log on to to find the nearest cooling center or public pool.

"During a scorching hot and humid day, New Yorkers should limit their outdoor activity as much as possible and try to stay cool and drink plenty of liquids," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "In addition, New Yorkers should check on their elderly neighbors, relatives, and friends and see if they can help with shopping, errands or other tasks.  I urge all New Yorkers to conserve energy and take advantage of these cooling centers located throughout the five boroughs as well as our free outdoor pools and beaches."

The Mayor urged New Yorkers planning to spend time outdoors to be mindful of the heat and heed the following tips to stay safe:

  • 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. Dress in lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible.

  • Drink fluids - particularly water - even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.

  • Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun's peak hours - 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Cool down with repeated cool baths or showers.

  • Never leave children, seniors, or pets in a parked car during periods of intense summer heat.

  • Make a special effort to check on neighbors, especially seniors and those with special needs.

  • Report open fire hydrants by calling 311.

  • Recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses including heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

    Heat exhaustion: Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness, headache, weak pulse, dizziness, exhaustion, fainting, nausea or vomiting, and cold, clammy skin. Body temperature will seem normal.

    Heat Stroke: Symptoms include flushed, hot, dry skin, weak or rapid pulse, shallow breathing, lack of sweating, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness. Body temperature will be elevated, and victim should receive immediate medical attention.

Energy Conservation and Power Outages

During periods of hot and humid weather, regional electricity use rises.  Residents should conserve energy to help prevent power disruptions.

  • Set your air conditioner thermostat no lower than 78 degrees.

  • Only use the air conditioner when you are home. If you want to cool your home before you return, set a timer to have it switch on no more than a half-hour before you arrive.

  • Turn non-essential appliances off.

  • Only use appliances that have heavy electrical loads early in the morning or very late at night

Fire Hydrants and Spray Caps

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. Children can also be at serious risk, because the powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can push them 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 an adult 18 or over, free of charge, at local firehouses.

Learn more about how to stay cool all summer long with OEM's Ready New York: Beat the Heat guide. For more information about heat-related hazards and the Ready New York campaign, visit or call 311.


Edward Skyler/Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Jarrod Bernstein   (Office of Emergency Management)
(718) 422-4888

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