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  • Writer's pictureMehwish Ali

Heatwaves of New York City

In the summers of NYC, daily temperatures can reach near 100 degrees. As the planet continues warming, it will only get worse in the summers to come. Here is some information regarding tips to stay cool in the summers to come.

New York Heat-Related Deaths (NYC, 2019)

  • Heath can worsen existing chronic conditions such as heart disease

  • According to the 2022 New York City Heat-Related Mortality Report, on average each year, there are approximately 370 heat-related deaths.

  • The average annual number of heat-related deaths represents about 2% of all deaths each warm season from May to September.

Some symptoms of heat exhaustion:

  • Cramps

  • Nausea

  • Pale moist skin

  • Light headed

  • Excessive sweating

Who is affected most?

  • Heat-exacerbated mortality inequitably affects Black New Yorkers, reflecting the impacts of structural racism. This creates economic, educational, health care, housing, and other systems that systematically disadvantage Black New Yorkers.

  • Heat-exacerbated mortality is also higher in communities that have lacked resources.

Steps that NYC is currently taking to address the heatwaves:

  • Providing substantial funding for air conditioning for low-income seniors

  • The City has invested in painting cool roofs, tree planting, and creating cool outdoor spaces where people can seek relief.

  • Eligible New Yorkers can also obtain free air conditioners, including installation, through the New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP); more information on eligibility and how to apply to HEAP can be found online or by calling 311 and asking about the cooling assistance benefit.

Tips to keep yourself cool during the heatwaves:

  • Be prepared for summers

    • Check your air conditioning

    • Find a place to cool off within the community

  • Keep yourself hydrated

  • Wear light clothing

  • Take cool showers

  • Do not leave children, pets, or individuals with special needs in a parked car

  • Keep living areas cool

    • Keep windows closed with AC on during the day

    • Use electric fans

Tips to conserve energy during the summer:

  • Use a timer and sleep mode on the AC overnight.

  • Adjust the AC temperature setting a degree or two higher than you normally would

    • Each degree increase saves about 10% of energy use.

  • Use ceiling or floor fans instead of air conditioning.

  • In summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.

    • Can use semi-sheer curtains to allow for natural lighting

  • Turn off lights when you leave a room

  • Shut down your computer at night. Computers are some of the biggest energy guzzlers. Computers can be turned on and off over 40,000 times, and it won’t affect their lifespan.

  • Choose the right light. LED bulbs are the most energy efficient. They use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer.

  • Unplug electronics. Even when off, TVs, microwaves, scanners, and printers use standby power.

  • Unplug the charger. Some chargers still pull small amounts of energy when left plugged in. If it feels warm even when not charging a device, it’s using energy.

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