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PR- 277-06
August 2, 2006


City Agencies Move to Protect the Well-Being and Safety of New Yorkers Most At-Risk

Private Sector Continues to Cut Power Consumption in Face of Record Heat and Energy Usage; Mayor Calls on Residents to Conserve Energy in Evening Hours

As temperatures remained in the triple digits today, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced additional power-saving measures the City is taking to conserve energy and reduce the strain on the electrical grid. The Bowery Bay wastewater treatment plant is now running on generator power in addition to several large Department of Sanitation (DSNY) repair facilities. More private sector companies also announced today that they have increased power conservation efforts. Energy demand today is projected to break the peak usage record set yesterday, underscoring the need for additional conservation – especially from residents coming home from work in late afternoon and evening hours. The City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at the Office of Emergency Management (OEM ) is coordinating the City’s response to both the heat emergency and scattered reports of power outages. Today’s high temperature is expected to reach 102 degrees with a heat index of over 115 degrees; tomorrow’s forecast predicts a high temperature of around 100 degrees and a heat index of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

“This City has pulled together and now we are halfway through this oppressive heat wave,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “So far, the City and many private companies have taken major steps to reduce their power usage, and the electrical grid is holding up. But we still have a day and a half of 100-degree temperatures ahead of us, and all New Yorkers in every borough need to do whatever they can to reduce energy consumption, especially in the evening hours from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.”

In accordance with the Mayor’s unprecedented Executive Order declaring a Heat Emergency, City agencies have moved to reduce power consumption by reducing lighting and raising air conditioning temperatures. In addition to the measures announced over the past two days, agencies and private companies continue to cut back on energy usage in all 5 boroughs:


It is essential for residents coming home from work to conserve energy in the critically important late afternoon and evening hours – from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tips for conserving energy, including running high-energy appliances during non-peak hours and keeping air conditioners at 78 degrees are available at

DSNY has shut off non-essential lighting and air cooling systems at all of the 59 district garages around the city. As part of the Peak Load Management program, DSNY will also reduce energy usage at their repair facilities. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) has now reduced elevator service by 16 percent by keeping 59 elevators out of service at buildings it manages in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.

Dozens more private companies and organizations have taken steps to reduce power consumption. In addition to those announced yesterday, the following companies are limiting their energy usage: Goldman Sachs, Continuum Health Partners Incorporated, New York University, New York Presbyterian, Silverstein Properties, McCann Erickson, Macy’s, Time Warner Corp, Rudin Management, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Barclays Capital, Durst Organization, SL Green, Greater NY Hospital Association, Bank of New York, Katz Media Group, and Competitrack. Shopkeepers should remember to keep their doors closed while running air conditioning units.

The City’s 383 cooling centers will continue to extend their hours of operation through tomorrow, with exact hours depending on the location. Yesterday, more than 27,000 New Yorkers visited cooling centers. The Department of Parks & Recreation will extend the operating hours of the City’s 51 outdoor pools today until 8 p.m., and is prepared to do so on any day when the temperature tops 95 degrees. The Parks Department also operates more than 14 miles of beaches, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and more than 600 spray showers throughout the five boroughs. New Yorkers can call 311 for information on City pool, beach, spray shower, and cooling center locations and hours.

The Fire Department (FDNY) continues to closely monitor medical calls related to heat emergencies, and will allocate additional resources as needed. From midnight Monday to midnight Tuesday, EMS received 3,726 medical calls, including 103 emergency calls directly related to the heat. Total call volume was 20% higher yesterday compared with August 1, 2005. Some staff from the EMS Academy has been re-directed to field additional ambulance tours.  The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH ) has increased monitoring in hospitals for heat-related illnesses.  Heat exposure visits to hospitals have increased, but the number of visits is similar to peak heat days last year. New Yorkers should always remember to call 911 in the event of a heat emergency.

The Human Resources Administration (HRA) continues to contact client populations vulnerable to the heat, including those who receive home care, adult protective services or HIV/AIDS services. The Department for the Aging (DFTA ) case management and homecare agencies continue to check on their homebound and most vulnerable clients. DFTA’s case management agencies are making arrangements for those clients who need transportation to cooling center, as well as offering emergency homecare to those clients who need extra care or additional services during the heat. The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) sent outreach teams into the field to distribute water and assistance as needed. The Runaway and Homeless Youth Unit of the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has asked the operators of mobile Street Outreach vans to pay particular attention to youth who may be subject to heat exhaustion, and encourage them to seek relief at Drop-In Centers. Summer Youth

Employment Program worksites, Out-of-School Time summer programs and Beacon day camps are canceling outdoor activities and educating their staffs on ways to detect and prevent dehydration.


At Rikers Island, six of the 10 facilities are running on full generator power. Power has been restored to the Atria adult living facility in Riverdale, which lost power and was evacuated yesterday. The American Red Cross delivered water to the facility’s 175 residents this morning. 


At the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has turned off all non-essential lighting in the common areas and eliminated use on approximately one-third of the elevators. Non-essential lighting has also been extinguished at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. DSNY reduced energy consumption at a repair facility in Canarsie as part of the New York Power Authority’s Peak Load Management program, and DCAS will turn off the illuminating lights at Brooklyn Borough Hall tonight.


The large DSNY borough repair facility on West 26th Street will shut down lights, air conditioners, fans, and heavy duty machinery during the daytime today. DCAS last night extinguished the illuminating lights for the City Hall Clock Tower, the One Centre Street tower and plaza, and the 31 Chambers Street exterior lights. Non-essential lighting has been eliminated at all ferry landings, the Essex Street Retail Market, the Audubon Building, and the La Marqueta Retail Market. P & O Ports has also eliminated air conditioning usage and non-essential lighting at the New York Cruise Terminal.


The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which already has taken 50 percent of power usage at six wastewater treatment plants off the grid, took the Bowery Bay plant completely off the grid this morning. DSNY undertook major energy use reductions at their central repair facility in Woodside, which is as long as the Empire State Building is tall, along with another repair facility in Woodside.

Staten Island

DCAS will turn off the illuminating lights at Staten Island Borough Hall tonight. Energy consumption has also been reduced at the St George Parking lot and Homeport through reducing lighting and air conditioning. 

It is especially important for residents to conserve energy in the late afternoon and evening hours. New Yorkers can take the following steps to reduce their energy usage:

  • 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.
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.

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. DEP crews closed 2,003 hydrants across the city from yesterday afternoon to this morning, and water pressure remains steady; New Yorkers should call 311 to report open hydrants.


Stu Loeser   (212) 788-2958


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

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