FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2012
MAYOR BLOOMBERG REMINDS NEW YORKERS TO TAKE PRECAUTIONS AND HELP THE VULNERABLE DURING EXTREME HEAT
455 Cooling Centers Open Citywide Today, Open through Thursday Evening
Use Air Conditioning to Stay Cool, Drink Water to Avoid Dehydration, Check on Neighbors, Elderly
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno and Heath Commissioner Thomas A. Farley to encourage New Yorkers to take precautions during the extreme heat forecast for Wednesday and Thursday this week. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to reach 95 degrees with a heat index as high as 100 on Wednesday and 98 with a heat index as high as 101 degrees expected on Thursday. Air-conditioned City cooling centers will be open Wednesday and Thursday to help New Yorkers beat the heat. 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. The Mayor made the announcement at the BronxWorks Morris Senior Center, one of the City’s newest Innovative Senior Centers and a neighborhood cooling center in the Bronx. To find the cooling center closest to you, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov.
“The next two days will be very hot and possibly uncomfortable, but for many New Yorkers it can also be very dangerous,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “It’s crucial that all New Yorkers take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their families from the heat. Stay in an air conditioned places when possible, stay hydrated, and check in on your neighbors, especially if they don’t have air conditioning, live alone, are elderly, have trouble getting around or are ill. These steps can save lives.”
“We are asking every New Yorker to take common sense steps to stay safe during this extreme heat event: look out for your own health, check in on vulnerable neighbors, and set your air conditioning thermostat to 78 degrees to keep cool while also conserving energy,” said OEM Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno. “And to ensure that every New Yorker has a place to stay cool, the City has opened more than 450 cooling centers – public places that are open to anyone who needs a place to take a break from the heat and cool off.”
“Prolonged heat can put you at risk for serious health consequences,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “For anyone who is elderly or living with a chronic health condition like diabetes or mental illness, a series of hot days can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke – even death. There are about 300,000 seniors living alone across the city. The best way for us to keep them safe is for all New Yorkers to check on your elderly relatives, friends, and neighbors and see if you can help them get to cooler places and make sure they’re staying hydrated.”
“Keeping cool on hot summer days is essential, and one of the best ways to do that is by drinking plenty of refreshing NYC Water,” said Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland. “Our city’s water is some of the best in the world, a fact that all New Yorkers can take pride in. To help make it even more available, our Water-On-the-Go fountains will be deployed at high-traffic locations throughout the summer—eight of which are set up today—to offer free and delicious water to anyone who needs a drink. We also want to remind New Yorkers that opening a fire hydrant without a spray cap is illegal and potentially dangerous. Improperly opened hydrants can hamper firefighting operations and harm small children. Before you cool off, stop by a local firehouse and get an approved spray cap, so you can beat the heat in the safest way possible.”
“We encourage older New Yorkers to take advantage of the over 245 senior centers that will serve as cooling centers and will be open to the public,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli. “They not only provide a respite from the sun and heat, they offer nutritional, social and recreational services. Our community partners are prepared to receive anyone who feels they need to come in out of the heat. We also ask all New Yorkers to check in on their elderly relatives, friends and neighbors often.”
“As the hottest day of the year approaches today, I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for visiting one of our many Bronx cooling centers,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “I urge all New Yorkers, especially our seniors, to take every precaution possible to avoid heat illness and beat the heat. Cooling centers open today during business hours include senior centers, libraries and community centers. Be safe and stay cool.”
New Yorkers are advised to use air conditioning to stay cool, go to a place that has air conditioning if it is not available at home, drink water at regular intervals, and limit strenuous activity, especially during the hottest parts of the day. New Yorkers are also urged to take precautions to prevent serious illness that can result from the heat, especially among vulnerable individuals such as seniors and those with chronic health problems. This year the Health Department is running radio ads about the serious risks of extreme heat and the importance of checking on neighbors, family and friends - especially those who live alone, are elderly or who do not have air conditioning - on local radio stations.
Water is crucial in extreme heat. The Department of Environmental Protection’s Water-On-the-Go program makes NYC Water easily available at outdoor locations throughout the five boroughs as an alternative to bottled water or sugar-sweetened beverages. Throughout the summer, portable NYC Water drinking fountains will be rotated between more than 20 different public plazas, parks, GrowNYC Greenmarkets, busy sidewalks, and special events around the city. This year, the Department has developed a new iPhone/iPad mobile application to help New Yorkers access the daily Water-On-the-Go program schedule. The app is free, and available for download at the iTunes Store. In addition, this summer Water-On-the-Go visitors can “Check-In” at fountains using Foursquare, and while supplies last drinkers will have the opportunity to unlock a special for a free reusable NYC Water bottle. Last summer more than 200,000 people visited Water-On-the-Go drinking fountains, along with countless dogs.
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. The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:
Knowing the warning signs of heat stress is important. If you (or someone you know) feels weak or faint, go to a cool place and drink water. Call your 911 or go to the emergency room right away if you have these symptoms:
Ready New York - Beat the Heat Tips:
Spray Caps & Fire Hydrants:
To receive free notifications about power outages affecting your neighborhood sign up for Notify NYC at www.nyc.gov. 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.
Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
Judith Graham Kane (OEM) (718) 422-4888
Sam Miller (DOHMH) (347) 396-4177
Chris Miller (DFTA) (212) 442-1111
Chris Gilbride (DEP) (718) 595-6600
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