As temperatures soar above 90 degrees in New York City, many are seeking strategies to stay cool and safe.

High heat poses significant risks of heat-related illnesses and fatalities, particularly in homes lacking air conditioning, as reported by local authorities. Moreover, neighborhoods without ample green spaces or trees are especially vulnerable to heat-related health issues.

New York City provides various resources to help residents cope with summer heat:

Cooling Centers

During heat emergencies, the city opens cooling centers in public facilities equipped with air conditioning. These centers are activated when the National Weather Service issues a heat advisory forecasting a heat index of 95 degrees or higher for two or more days, or 100 degrees for any duration. Locations include libraries, community centers, senior centers, and NYCHA facilities.

Home Energy Assistance Program

The Home Energy Assistance Program assists eligible residents in acquiring and installing air conditioners or fans to cool their homes. Qualified households may receive financial support for one air conditioner or fan, up to $800 for window or portable units, and up to $1,000 for existing wall sleeve units.

Public Pools

New York City offers free access to public pools, which are open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with a closure for cleaning from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. These pools, including Olympic- and intermediate-sized ones, remain operational until September 10, while mini pools close on September 4.

Public Beaches

From Memorial Day weekend through September 10, NYC’s public beaches are accessible daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., patrolled by lifeguards during these hours. Swimming is prohibited outside of lifeguard duty times.

Spray Showers

Located in parks and playgrounds across the city, spray showers provide a fun way for children to cool down on days when temperatures exceed 80 degrees.

Recognizing Heat Illness Symptoms

It’s crucial to be aware of signs of heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, dry skin, nausea, trouble breathing, rapid pulse, weakness, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Heat exhaustion symptoms include heavy sweating, cold/clammy skin, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, and nausea. Seek medical assistance immediately if these symptoms occur.

Indoor and Outdoor Heat Safety Tips

For indoor safety, keep shades or curtains closed, minimize stove/oven use, take cool showers, and stay hydrated while avoiding alcoholic, caffeinated, or sugary beverages. Outdoors, seek shade, limit strenuous activities between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., wear sunscreen and lightweight, light-colored clothing.

Staying informed and prepared can significantly mitigate the risks associated with high temperatures in NYC during the summer months.