Scorcher Hits NYC, Learn How To Stay Safe In High Temps

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It's hard to believe just a few months ago we were buried in inches of snow, but this week the temperatures in the Tri-state area have reached deadly heights, with the mercury flirting with triple digits.

City living is worse, because the buildings and asphalt contain the heat, raising the actual temperature by about 10 degrees. That's why it's important to use some common sense so you don't end up in the hospital's Emergency Room with heat stroke!

Here are some things you can do:

1. Drink lots of cold, non-alcoholic beverages.2. Stay indoors, exposed to air conditioning. If you don't have a/c at home, head to a public library or one of the city's cooling centers.3. Keep an eye on elderly people check in on them every hour or so.4. Make sure you keep children - and pets - away from the inside of a hot car. Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.5. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.6. Limit outdoor activity and exercise - if you are going to do something, shoot for early morning or late evening, when its cooler - and rest often, in the shade.7. Don't forget to apply sunblock.

People looking for a cooling center in their neighborhood can call 311. Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be visiting one in Crown Heights at about 3pm Wednesday.

Here are some other things to be aware of from New York City's Office of Emergency Management:

Heat illness symptoms are often not specific and include:

  • Hot, dry skin or cold, clammy skin
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Confusion, hallucinations, disorientation

The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:

  • Are younger than five or older than 64
  • Have chronic medical or mental health conditions such as diabetes or substance abuse disorders.
  • Are overweight
  • Take certain medications which can disrupt the regulation of body temperature
  • Are unable to leave their homes or confined to their beds
  • Drink alcohol use drugs which can impair their judgment.

If you have a medical condition or take medication, check with your physician about precautions you should take during hot weather. Family, friends, and neighbors who are at high risk will need extra help during this period of extreme heat. Think about how you can help someone you know get to an air-conditioned place.

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 family's, friend's or neighbor's home, store, mall, museum, or movie theater, or, visit a cooling center.
  • 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.
  • 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. or in the evening. If you exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. If you are used to regular exercise, just keep in mind the symptoms of heat illness when exercising and stop or rest if any occur.
  • Be careful if you take a cold shower to stay cool – sudden temperature changes can make you feel dizzy or sick.
  • Check on your at-risk family, friends and neighbors often and help them get to a cool place.

Spray Caps & 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.

Conserve Energy:

  • During periods of extremely hot and humid weather, electricity use rises, which can cause power disruptions.
  • Set your air conditioner thermostat at 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.
  • To receive free notifications about power outages affecting your neighborhood sign up for Notify NYC at www.nyc.gov/notifynyc.

For more information on coping with extreme heat, see theReady 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.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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