NYC Announces Safety Plan to Combat Extreme Heat and Save Lives

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) Commissioner Zach Iscol recently announced a proactive safety plan to protect New Yorkers from extreme heat. The City defines extreme heat as high heat and humidity with temperatures that are much higher than normal (10 degrees F or more) lasting for several days. It is reported that each summer an estimated 350 New Yorkers die prematurely due to heat.

“We want all New Yorkers to enjoy being outside during these beautiful summer days, but we also want to make sure we are all prepared for those days when it’s too hot, as well as for other extreme weather events like hurricanes, flash floods, and wildfire smoke,” said Mayor Adams. “This year, we have expanded the number of cooling centers across the city, updated our air quality emergency guidelines, and prepared all year for the upcoming hurricane season. This administration is getting ready in advance – and we want all New Yorkers to be ready, too.”

NYCEM has issued an instructive guide called  ‘Beat the Heat,’ which lays out what residents should do prior to an extreme heat situation, what to do during the situation, and how and where to get help from the City.  This help includes: 

  • The 24/7 Cool Options Map: The updated ‘Cool Options Map’ allows New Yorkers to easily locate cooling centers;
  • increased Cooling Center Partners: NYCEM has expanded its partnerships to offer a wider range of cooling centers throughout the city, ensuring more options for residents during heat emergencies;
  • Pet-Friendly Cooling Centers: Through a partnership with PetCo, the city will provide numerous pet-friendly cooling centers for New Yorkers.;
  • Cool Kits for Vulnerable Populations: NYCEM will pilot a program to distribute ‘cool kits’ that contain essential heat safety items to delivery drivers, outdoor workers, and other at-risk groups;
  • Indoor Thermometer Distribution: NYCEM — through its ‘Strengthening Communities’ grassroots partnership program — will pilot a program to distribute indoor thermometers to older adults, helping them monitor their home temperatures and stay safe; and  
  • Heat Preparedness Messaging: The city is working with food partners like City Meals on Wheels and City Harvest to distribute heat safety information to vulnerable populations.  

“New York City Emergency Management is rising to the challenges of a changing climate through new initiatives to reach our most vulnerable and empower all New Yorkers to prepare for future hazards,” said NYCEM Commissioner Iscol. “Extreme heat, storms, and other natural hazards are increasing in frequency. Our task is to adapt. Whether working with our partners to protect the grid and support our city’s most vulnerable, educating New Yorkers about the importance of cool spaces, connecting our seniors with thermometers so they can stay safe at home during heat, or delivering ‘cool kits’ to delivery drivers and outdoor laborers working under the summer sun, NYCEM’s efforts reinforce the resiliency, health, and strength of New York City.”