SUMMER HEAT SEASON BEGINS - IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO KEEP CLIENTS SAFE

Summer is here, and with it, the possibility of heat emergencies.


In New York City, most heat-related deaths occur after exposure to heat in homes without air conditioners. Air conditioning is the best way to stay safe and healthy when it is hot outside, but some people at risk of heat illness do not have or do not turn on an air conditioner.

The New York City Emergency Management Department urges service providers to take steps to protect clients who may be at increased risk from the heat. Please share this resource to use with clients that could be at risk during extreme heat events.

Additionally, providers can use the Heat Wave Preparedness Checklist to help clients stay safe during extreme heat and to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illness.

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:

  • Have chronic medical, mental health, cognitive or developmental conditions.
  • Are obese.
  • Take certain medicines which can impact body temperature.
  • Have limited mobility or are unable to leave their homes.
  • Misuse drugs or alcohol.

 People with these risk factors should consult with their doctors about potential complications due to extreme heat. Keep in mind that older adults are more likely than younger New Yorkers to have some combination of the risk factors described above. In addition, as people get older, their ability to maintain a safe body temperature declines – resulting in an increased risk for heat-related illness. African Americans are twice as likely to die from heat stroke compared to whites, due in part to social and economic disparities including access to air conditioning. Certain neighborhoods are also more vulnerable to the health impacts of heat than other neighborhoods; visit the NYC Environment and Health Data portal to learn more about the Heat Vulnerability Index, which examines heat vulnerability across our City’s neighborhoods.

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 City’s 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 1-800-692-0557 or 311 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 which includes having:

  • An alternate source of electric power such as a battery backup system and/or backup oxygen tanks.
  • A variety of fully-charged telephone options (landline, cordless, cellular) if possible.
  • Manufacturers’ instructions to follow if clients use generators. Never use a generator indoors. Place generators at least 20 feet from any door, window, or vent.

If utilities are included in a client’s 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 Edison’s 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-LI’s 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!

June 11, 2019