Be Prepared for Extreme Heat
o If an at-risk individual has an air conditioner, encourage them to USE IT during periods of extreme heat. Many people prefer not to use their air conditioners, either to save money or because they do not like cold air. Suggest tips to conserve energy, such as using air conditioning in the room members spend the most time in, closing off other rooms, and cutting down on light and other electronics use. Advise members to set the air conditioner’s temperature at 78ºF. Check the air conditioner to make sure it is in good working condition, clean the filter if needed, and insulate any spaces between the air conditioner and window to make sure there is a tight fit.
o If an at-risk individual does not have an air conditioner or access to a common room on-site with air conditioning, discuss any other options they may have during periods of extreme heat. Spending even a few hours in an air conditioned environment can be beneficial. Help them identify public spaces nearby that they can go to sit in air conditioning. Help them make a plan for how they will get to a friend, neighbor or relative’s house, a library, shopping mall, or a Cooling Center in their neighborhood (call 311, TTY: 212-504-4115, or visit www.nyc.gov for more information). *Attached is NYC Cooling Center Locations.
o Advise members to wear light, loose-fitting clothing. Bathing or showering with cool (not cold) water can be helpful for those able to do so safely.
o Discuss medical conditions or medications that could increase risk during hot weather.
o Remind members to drink plenty of water both outdoors and indoors, even if they don’t feel thirsty, during hot weather, and to avoid strenuous activity. If they are unable to communicate thirst, make sure they are given water at regular intervals throughout the day.
o Advise members that during periods of extreme heat, a fan alone may not be enough to keep them cool. When the room temperature is in the high 90s or above, fans will not prevent heat-related illness because they just blow the hot air around. Fans may be useful when used in conjunction with an air conditioner or at night to help circulate cooler air from open windows if air conditioning is not used.