The dog days of summer have scorched the Norwood area, with open hydrants, ice cream trucks and midday siestas serving as the tools to beat a week long heat wave. The National Weather Service officially designates a heat wave when temperatures peak above 90 degrees for two days or more.
The broiling heat wave is expected to last through next weekend, with city officials beating the drum on staying cool during the extreme temperatures. The de Blasio Administration offered these tips, published verbatim, on ways to ride out the heat wave:
CHECK ON THOSE PARTICULARLY VULNERABLE TO THE HEAT:
- A small but crucial gesture can help ensure that we all have a safe and healthy summer: Get to know your neighbors, and contact neighbors and relatives – in person or by phone – at least twice a day during heat waves.
- Pay special attention to the elderly, the very young, and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition. New Yorkers should check in on older neighbors who may be isolated from friends and family.
- The Department of Homeless Services has issued a Code Red Alert and has enhanced outreach. Single adults can present to any shelter to seek refuge from the heat. Transportation is also available to cooling centers via DHS outreach teams, which are checking on vulnerable, at-risk clients with greater frequency.
- The Department for the Aging has opened senior centers as cooling centers, and home care agencies are on the lookout for clients who may need assistance. Case management agencies are also calling through home-bound seniors. Visitnyc.gov/oem for the nearest cooling center.
- Air conditioning is the best way to keep cool when it is hot outside, but some people do not have an air conditioner or do not turn it on when they need it. Encourage them to use air conditioning. Help them get to an air-conditioned place if they cannot stay cool at home. Make sure they are drinking enough water.
ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY TIPS FOR PROTECTION AGAINST THE HEAT:
- Stay out of the sun and avoid extreme temperature changes.
- 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.
- Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid beverages containing alcohol and/or caffeine.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun’s peak hours: 11 am to 4 pm. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 am and 7 am.
- If possible, go to an air-conditioned building for several hours during the hottest parts of the day.
- Cool down with a cool bath or shower.
- Participate in activities that will keep you cool, such as going to the movies, shopping at a mall, or swimming at a pool or beach.
- Cover all exposed skin with an SPF sunscreen (15 or above) and wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and head.
- Never leave your children or pets in the car.
For more information, visit nyc.gov/health/heathealth.
FACTS ABOUT HEAT ILLNESS:
Heat illness is serious. Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. The added stress caused by heatcan also aggravate heart or lung disease even without symptoms of heat illness. The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:
- Do not have or do not use air conditioning
- Are age 65 or older
- Have chronic medical or mental health conditions
- Take certain medications, which can disrupt the regulation of body temperature
- Are confined to their beds, have trouble with being mobile, or are unable to leave their homes
- Are overweight
- Consume alcohol or illegal drugs
Know the warning signs of heat stress. 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
In Norwood, an open hydrant has been the best way to stay cool, though officials warn that hydrants at full blast can seriously impact the Fire Department and any effort to fight a fire.
“If you want the water from the hydrant to help provide some relief, the way to do that is with one of the spray caps that are provided by the FDNY,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent news conference.