As the summer heat picks up, it is important that we take precautions to ensure our safety and the safety of our neighbors.
To help New Yorkers beat the heat, New York City has opened cooling centers around the five boroughs, including at senior centers, NYCHA facilities, and parks. Call 311 or go to nyc.gov/beattheheat to find the nearest center, including accessible facilities.
- Stay out of the sun and avoid extreme temperature changes.
- Never leave your children or pets in the car
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day: 4:00 am to 7:00 am.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Drink fluids, particularly water, even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Those on fluid-restricted diets or taking diuretics should first consult their physician.
- Avoid beverages containing alcohol and/or caffeine.
- If possible, go to an air-conditioned building for several hours during the hottest parts of the day.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Participate in activities that will keep you cool, like going to the movies, shopping at a mall, or swimming at a pool or beach.
- Cool down with a cool shower.
- Cover all exposed skin with an SPF sunscreen (15 or above) and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and head.
- Pay special attention to the elderly, the very young and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition.
- Check in on older neighbors, family and friends at least twice a day.
FACTS ABOUT HEAT ILLNESS:
- Heat illness is serious. Prolonged exposure to the heat is potentially fatal and can aggravate heart or lung disease.
- The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:
- Do not have or do not use air conditioning
- Are ages 65 or older
- Have chronic medical or mental health conditions
- Take certain medications
- Are confined to their beds, immobile, or are otherwise homebound
- Are overweight
- Consume alcohol or illegal drugs
- If you or someone you know feels weak or faint, go to a cool place and drink water. If there is no improvement, call a doctor or 911.
- Call 911 immediately if you have, or someone you know has:
- Hot dry skin OR cold clammy skin
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Confusion, disorientation, or dizziness
- Nausea and vomiting
KEEPING YOUR PETS SAFE:
- Avoid dehydration: Pets can dehydrate quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water.
Exercise early and late: When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt. Your pet’s body can heat up quickly, and sensitive paw pads can burn.
- Know when your pet is in danger: Symptoms of overheating in pets include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse.
- Animals with flat faces like Pugs and Persian cats are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. They should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.
- Never leave a pet inside of a parked car on a hot day, even with the windows open.
Keep cats safe by installing screens in your windows.
- Prepare for your pet: Pet food, water, medications and supplies should always be part of your emergency preparedness and “go bags.”
During periods of intense electrical usage, such as on hot, humid days, it is important to conserve energy as much as possible to avoid brownouts and electrical disruptions. A few important energy-saving tips include:
- Set air conditioners at 78°. A 75° setting uses 18 percent more electricity and a 72° setting uses 39 percent more electricity. This setting allows for sufficient cooling while still conserving electrical power.
- Use an air conditioner only when home. If you want to cool your home before you arrive, use a timer to have it come on half an hour before you arrive.
- Don’t air-condition an empty room.
- Identify any potential air leaks that may be causing increased energy expenditure. Use caulk, weather stripping or other weather guarding solutions to plug any possible leaks.
- If you have central air, block the vents in unoccupied rooms
- Clean or replace your air conditioner filters at least once a month during the cooling season.
- Use fans whenever possible. They use less energy than air conditioners and often work just as well.
- Alternate your usage between air conditioners and fans. Once you’re cool and comfortable, shut down the air conditioner and turn on the fan. Alternating devices can cut air conditioner use by up to 40%, conserve energy and cut costs.
- Replacing traditional light switches with dimmers or motion sensors is an easy way to moderate usage.
- If you’re not using your electronics or appliances, unplug them.
- About 40% of unwanted heat comes in through your windows. Keep windows, drapes and shades closed during the day to help keep unwanted heat out of your home.
- Make sure to buy the proper sized air conditioning unit. If your air conditioner is too large for the room it more frequently cycles on and off. Frequent cycling causes temperature to fluctuate creating an environment that is both less comfortable and less efficient.
- In the summer months, use your washing machine, dryer and dishwasher early in the morning or late at night when the temperature is generally cooler.
- More energy-saving tips can be found here.
Please consider sharing this information with friends, family and co-workers. Stay cool and stay safe!
Council Member, 3rd Council District