Technically it’s not quite summer yet, but New Yorkers got their first taste of extreme heat over the weekend. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can be fatal, and the city Office of Emergency Management urges residents to follow simple guidelines and steps to avoid harm.
Ready New York – Beat the Heat Tips:
- Use an air conditioner if you have one.
- If you do not have an air conditioner, go to a cooler place such as an air-conditioned store, mall, museum, library, senior center or movie theater.
- Use a fan if the air is not too hot. Fans work best at night to bring in cooler air from outside. Use a fan only when the air conditioner is on or the windows are open.
- Drink plenty of water or other fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or high amounts of sugar.
- If possible, stay out of the sun. When in the sun, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that covers as much of your skin as possible and a hat to protect your face and head. Use sunscreen (at least SPF 15) to protect exposed skin.
- Never leave children, pets, or those who require special care in a parked car.
- Avoid strenuous activity, or plan it for the coolest part of the day, usually in the morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool—sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick.
Spray Caps and Fire Hydrants:
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. The powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can also push children 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 someone 18 or over, free of charge at local firehouses.
- During periods of extremely hot and humid weather, electricity use rises, which can cause power disruptions.
- Don’t set your air conditioner thermostat lower than 78 degrees.
- Use air conditioners only when you’re home, and only in rooms you’re using. If you want to cool your home before you return, set a timer that turns on no more than 30 minutes before you arrive.
- Turn off nonessential appliances.
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/health.