PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — When temperatures reach 90 or more, it is important to stay safe and watch family, friends, neighbors and pets. Everyone is at risk of dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke during long periods of high temperatures and high humidity.
In very hot weatherPhiladelphia will announce a heat-related health emergency on phila.gov, and through the city’s free mass alert system. (Sign up for these texts on the city’s website.) Mobile heat health teams may be dispatched. Residential utility cuts are stopped. And some services are activated to help residents stay safe.
Here’s a quick guide to emergency heating resources around the city.
Health officials recommend regular monitoring of young children, the elderly and people with diabetes, heart and respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. These vulnerable populations are advised to limit their time and activities outdoors on hot days.
Health officials strongly encourage increasing the amount of water you drink, wearing loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing, and taking cool showers and baths.
Photo creditGetty Images
For people who don’t have access to air conditioning at home, electric fans can provide some relief, but keep some windows open. Running fans with the windows closed can create convection effects that actually increase the heat.
And under no circumstances should children or pets be left unattended in vehicles. Car interiors can reach dangerous temperatures in as little as two minutes.
Heat line: 215-765-9040
The Philadelphia Society for Aging will open this special helpline number for callers seeking heat-related health and safety advice and help with non-emergency health issues.
Help for the homeless: 215-232-1984
City officials are urging anyone who sees a homeless person or someone in need of shelter to call this homeless helpline.
If you think someone has a medical emergency, call 911.
In the event of a heat-related health emergency, the city coordinates with various climate-controlled locations to provide access for city residents so they can escape the heat. Cooling centers may include libraries, schools, buses and other locations.
Other tips include using air-conditioned public spaces, like the museums on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
There is a public swimming pool or sprayground in every city zip code. There are 63 public swimming pools operate this summer. (Call individual pools for hours.) About 70% of open pools are in low-income communities, where the average household income is $45,000 a year or less.
More … than 90 spray areas are open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays through Labor Day, except in inclement weather.
photo creditHolli Stephens/KYW Newsradio
Philadelphia fountains like those in LOVE Park, Dilworth Park and Logan Square in the city center can also provide relief.
The city is asking people not to open fire hydrants because it can lower water levels for homes and businesses and make it harder for firefighters to do their jobs in extreme heat.
And while you may be very adventurous, swimming in Philadelphia’s rivers, streams, and other natural waterways is dangerous and prohibited.
These tips can help families keep their pets out of the emergency vet’s office.
1. Bring pets indoors out of direct sunlight and into air-conditioned spaces. Those without air conditioning must keep the fans running to circulate the air.
2. Make sure pets have water at all times. Go a little further and put some ice cubes in the bowl of water.
3. When running errands, leave pets at home indoors or in a cool, shady, safe place outdoors.
Photo creditGetty Images
According to Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Teamthe city requires that all dog owners have a shaded area large enough to protect the animal from the sun at all times, otherwise their dogs could be put in serious danger.
Dog owners who violate this law can be fined up to $500. Call 267-385-3800 if you see dogs left outside in hot weather.