Heat Emergency Season Approaches

Summer will soon be here, and with it, the possibility of heat emergencies.

During periods of very hot weather, people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs are at a greater risk for heat-related illness. Please share this document to use with clients that could be at risk during extreme heat events.

Additionally, a heat checklist that providers can use to find out what providers can do and also what symptoms to watch for can be found here: http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/ehs/provider-heat-checklists.pdf

People at risk for heat-related illness and death are those who do not have or use air conditioning AND have one or more of these risk factors: older adults (65+), have chronic medical or psychiatric conditions, misuse drugs or alcohol, or take certain medications. People with these risk factors should consult with their doctors about potential complications due to extreme heat.

If an at-risk client has an air conditioner, encourage him or her to use it during a heat event. If an at-risk individual does not have an air conditioner, discuss other options for staying cool, such as visiting New York Cityís cooling centers when open. During heat emergencies, New York City opens cooling centers throughout the five boroughs to help New Yorkers beat the heat. Clients can call 311 (TTY: 212-504-4115) to find their closest cooling center, including accessible facilities. Your client may also qualify for a free air conditioner through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). Clients who meet income criteria and have written documentation from their healthcare provider verifying their increased risk for heat-related illness may qualify. Income eligibility criteria are available at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap.  Please note that funds are limited. Call 311 or the Human Resources Administration at 1-800-692-0577 for more information.

For individuals who rely on electric-powered medical equipment at home (e.g., respirators, dialysis machines, apnea monitors), registration with the local utility provider is an important step so that they can be contacted in the event of an emergency. Depending on the utility provider, other programs may be available if clients need extra time to pay their utility bill due to medical conditions.


Registration with the local utility provider is not the only important preparedness step; people who use electric-powered medical equipment should have an emergency plan. Consider the following:

  • An alternate source of electric power, such as a battery backup system and/or backup tanks.
  • Include a variety of fully-charged telephone options (land-line, cordless, cellular) if possible.
  • If using a generator, be sure to follow the manufacturerís instructions, local building codes, and ensure that it is in a well-ventilated area.

If utilities are included in a clientís rent, they are still eligible to register for this program directly with the utility company.

How to Register with Your Utility Provider

Con Edison (serving all of NYC except the Rockaways):

If you live in Con Edisonís service territory, you may register by calling 1-800-752-6633 (TTY: 1-800-642-2308).

PSEG-LI (serving the Rockaways):

If you live in PSEG-LIís service territory you may register by calling 1-800-490-0025 (TTY: 1-631-755-6660).

Information is important to your success. Advance Warning System messages such as these will be sent out to let you know of any potential heat emergencies and if the City is opening cooling centers.

Stay safe this summer!

May 22, 2018