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NYC prepares for summer first heat wave: Cooling centers open to combat sweltering temperatures

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New York City is gearing up for its first major heat wave of the summer, set to begin tomorrow, June 18.

The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have activated the city’s Heat Emergency Plan in response to a National Weather Service forecast predicting extreme heat, with temperatures expected to reach or exceed 100°F.

Mayor Eric Adams urged residents to take the heat seriously. “A heat wave can be more than just uncomfortable; it can be deadly if you are not prepared. We encourage all New Yorkers to make a plan to stay cool and to check on your neighbors, especially older adults,” Adams said.

The city has expanded its network of cooling centers, which will be open from Tuesday through Thursday. Locations can be found on the “Cool Options” map at [finder.nyc.gov/coolingcenters](https://finder.nyc.gov/coolingcenters) or by calling 311.

NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Zach Iscol emphasized the importance of staying hydrated and limiting strenuous outdoor activities. “Heat indices could near 100 degrees, making it crucial for everyone to find ways to stay cool and avoid heat-related illnesses,” he said.

Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan added, “It is essential to stay cool during hot weather — use air conditioning or go to a cool place, and stay hydrated with water or electrolyte drinks.”

The city’s preparations include a revamped ‘Cool Options Map,’ accessible 24/7, to help residents locate air-conditioned public spaces like libraries, malls, and museums.

The Department of Social Services will also issue a Code Red Alert, providing shelter and cooling areas for the homeless.

Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez of the Department for the Aging highlighted the risks for older adults and advised utilizing the network of cooling centers as a safe haven. “Every New Yorker, particularly older adults, should take necessary precautions to ensure their safety,” she said.

NYC’s extreme heat plan also includes initiatives to mitigate climate change impacts, such as tree planting in vulnerable areas and cooling buildings, noted Elijah Hutchinson from the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice.

NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban urged New Yorkers to check on elderly neighbors and call 911 only in emergencies, while Con Edison’s President Matthew Ketschke assured that the company is prepared to handle increased power demands due to the heat.

The Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare reminded pet owners to ensure their pets have access to water and avoid hot surfaces during walks.

Health and Safety Tips:

– Adults over 60 and those with pre-existing health conditions are most vulnerable.
– Stay in air-conditioned locations and avoid strenuous activities during peak sun hours.
– Hydrate frequently, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and wear light clothing.
– Know the signs of heat illness: hot dry skin, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and nausea. Call 911 if these occur.

Energy-Saving Tips:

– Set air conditioners to 78°F.
– Use appliances during cooler parts of the day.
– Keep windows covered and doors closed.
– Inform your utility provider if you rely on electric-powered medical equipment.

By following these guidelines and utilizing available resources, New Yorkers can stay safe and cool during the upcoming heat wave.

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