Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers to take steps to keep themselves and vulnerable neighbors cool and hydrated at a press conference held in Brooklyn at the height of Monday’s blistering hot weather.
The National Weather Service issued heat and air quality alerts on Monday as temperatures soared into the 90s and heat index values past 100. Tuesday’s forecast calls for the mercury hit the 90s again.
Residents should use their air conditioning or go to one of 500 city cooling centers, the mayor said, as well as drink plenty of water and limit strenuous activity. Public pools will be kept open until 8 p.m., an hour later than usual.
Air conditioning is especially important for the elderly, those with chronic health problems and young children.
At the same time, with Con Edison cutting back on power in Queens and Brooklyn, people should “be mindful” about using too much energy, de Blasio said.
“Keep your thermostat set to 78 degrees,” he urged. That applies to businesses as well, which often blast frigid air at customers.
When asked by a reporter what the thermostat was set to at City Hall, press secretary Karen Hinton assured reporters that it was set to 78 degrees.
Con Edison was asking customers in Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park, South Ozone Park, Kew Gardens, areas of East New York, Howard Beach and Broad Channel on Monday to reduce energy use while crews work to repair equipment problems. Con Edison also reduced voltage by 8 percent in those areas.
Joseph Esposito, commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), told reporters, “Use common sense, that’s the bottom line. This is not the day to go out there working on your tan
“Check your neighbors, keep your pets cool, drink water,” he said, adding “Never leave your children or pets in the car. You hear horror stories of people who leave their kids in the car.”
People who need to work outside should work with a partner, he said. “Use the buddy system.”
He asked adults to obtain “spray caps” for fire hydrants, instead of opening the hydrants all the way. The can be obtained at any fire house, he said.
The Department of Homeless Services has issued a Code Red Alert, with additional outreach and transportation to cooling centers, said Homeless Services Commissioner Gilbert Taylor.
Taylor said 35 teams were advising the homeless of the danger of the heat, distributing water and transporting them to shelters. The teams have been trained to recognize heat exhaustion symptoms.
“Any single adult can be admitted to any shelter” during the emergency without having to go through the standard intake process, Taylor said.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Basset advised those suffering from the heat to take cool, but not freezing, showers and to stay hydrated. “Don’t work out,” she warned.
She urged people to be aware of the symptoms of a heat emergency in others: skin either hot and dry or cool and clammy, confusion, disorientation and vomiting. “This is a medical emergency – call 911,” she said.
For more information on coping with the heat, visit: www.nyc.gov/beattheheat