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PR- 272-06
July 31, 2006


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday signed an Executive Order declaring a Heat Emergency in anticipation of this week's forecasted heat wave. Executive Order 93 directs all City agencies to take whatever steps necessary to protect the well-being of residents. Already, City agencies - coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) - have mobilized to help New Yorkers beat the heat. The City's cooling centers have been open since the weekend, while the Parks Department will extend public pool operating hours on days over 95 degrees this week. Temperatures will be in the 90s through Thursday, with the high temperature on Wednesday forecasted to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

"The City will take all the steps it can to combat this week's oppressive heat," said Mayor Bloomberg. "I urge all New Yorkers - especially seniors - to try to beat the heat by drinking plenty of water, staying out of the sun, avoiding strenuous activity, and taking advantage of City cooling centers and public pools. The City will also reduce its energy usage this week, and I urge all New Yorkers to do the same - you can conserve energy by turning off unnecessary appliances and using air conditioning only when you are home."

The Office of Emergency Management is coordinating the City's response to the forecasted heat wave. OEM's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow to ensure that all City agencies are working to help New Yorkers beat the heat and conserve power. The City's 383 cooling centers will be open with extended hours through Thursday, with exact hours depending on the location. The City's cooling centers served more than 4,000 New Yorkers over the weekend. The Department for the Aging (DFTA) will also monitor the status of its homebound clients throughout the week. The Department of Parks & Recreation extends pool hours on any day over 95 degrees; based on the current forecast, City pools will stay open an hour later on Tuesday and Wednesday - from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Parks Department also operates more than 600 spray showers in City Parks throughout the five boroughs for New Yorkers looking to cool off. New Yorkers can call 311 for information on City pool, spray showers, and cooling center locations and hours.

The Fire Department (FDNY) is closely monitoring medical calls related to heat emergencies, and will allocate additional resources as needed. FDNY has also notified the 84 receiving hospitals throughout the city to be prepared for an increase in patients.

The Office of Emergency Management offers the following tips for New Yorkers to protect themselves during the heat wave:

  • New Yorkers should, whenever 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.

City government is working to conserve energy and is prepared to shed load by taking City facilities off the electrical grid if necessary. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS ) will raise the temperature of the air conditioning systems in the 53 buildings it manages today, including City Hall, Tweed Courthouse and the Municipal Building. DCAS is also prepared to reduce the electricity usage of elevator systems by putting 10 percent to 20 percent of building elevators out of service.

New Yorkers can also take steps to reduce their energy usage through the following measures:

  • 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. Residents and shop-owners should remember to close doors and windows while air conditioners are running.
  • Turn non-essential appliances off.
  • Only use appliances that have heavy electrical loads early in the morning or very late at night.

New Yorkers who wish to cool off with fire hydrant water must use City-approved fire hydrant spray caps, available free of charge at local firehouses. Illegally opening a fire hydrant is wasteful and dangerous - 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.

Executive Order 93, signed by the Mayor yesterday, directs all City agencies to take whatever steps necessary to protect the well-being and safety of city residents in the face of excessive heat. Any person who knowingly violates the order faces a Class B misdemeanor charge. The text of the Executive Order is as follows:

July 30, 2006

Section 1. Pursuant to the powers vested in me by laws of the State of New York and the City of New York, including but not limited to Executive Law § 24, I hereby declare a State of Emergency.
Section 2. This State of Emergency has been declared because of the extreme temperatures and humidity being experienced by the City.  These extreme conditions can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke in residents.  The City already has taken steps to open cooling centers in senior and community facilities in all five boroughs.  In addition, the increased demand for electricity for residents and businesses to run air conditioners and other cooling devices can cause power disruptions.  These conditions imperil public safety and health.
Section 3. I hereby direct all City agencies and authorities over which I exercise executive authority including, but not limited to, the Police Department, Fire Department, Department of Emergency Management, Community Assistance Unit, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Homeless Services, Human Resources Administration, Department for the Aging, Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Department of Sanitation, Department of Transportation, Taxi and Limousine Commission, Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Small Business Services to take whatever steps are necessary to preserve public safety and maintain orderly travel within the City, and to render all required and available assistance to protect the physical and economic security, well-being and health of residents of the City.
Section 4. Any person who knowingly violates any provision of this Order is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.
Section 5. This Order shall take effect immediately.  It shall remain in effect for 5 days unless it is terminated at an earlier date.

Michael R. Bloomberg



Stu Loeser   (212) 788-2958

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

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