NEW YORK (WWTI) — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat causes more than 600 preventable deaths in the United States every year.
To help New Yorkers stay safe during excessive heat, Governor Hochul’s office provided the following guidance:
- Taking precautions to avoid heat exhaustion is important, including adjusting your schedule to avoid the outdoors during the hottest hours of the day and modifying your diet and water intake when possible.
- Reduce strenuous activities and exercises, especially from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., which are peak sunlight hours.
- Exercise should be conducted early in the morning, before 7 a.m.
- Eat less protein and more fruits and vegetables. Protein produces and increases metabolic heat, which causes water loss. Eat small meals but eat more often. Do not eat salty foods.
- Drink at least two to four glasses of water per hour during extreme heat, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
- If possible, stay out of the sun and stay in air conditioning. The sun heats the inner core of your body, resulting in dehydration. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine, or go to a public building with air conditioning.
- If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head.
- When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and the over-warming effects of sunlight on your body.
- Never leave children, pets or those who require special care in a parked vehicle, especially during periods of intense summer heat. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach over 140 degrees Fahrenheit quickly. Exposure to such high temperatures can kill within a matter of minutes.
- Try to check on your neighbors during a heat wave, especially if they are elderly, have young children or have disabilities. Make sure there is enough food and water for your pets.
- Prolonged exposure to the heat can be harmful and potentially fatal. Call 911 if you or someone you know shows signs or symptoms of heat illness, including headache, lightheadedness, muscle cramps, nausea, and vomiting.
Taking smart steps to reduce energy use, particularly during periods of peak demand, not only helps to lower the state’s peak load but also saves consumers money when electricity is the most expensive.
To reduce energy use, particularly during peak periods, the public is encouraged to take some of the following low- or no-cost energy-saving measures:
- Close drapes, windows, and doors on your home’s sunny side to reduce solar heat buildup.
- Turn off air conditioners, lights, and other appliances when not at home and use a timer to turn on your air conditioner about a half-hour before arriving home. Use advanced power strips to centrally “turn off” all appliances and save energy.
- Fans can make rooms feel 10 degrees cooler and use 80 percent less energy than air conditioners.
- If purchasing an air conditioner, look for an ENERGY STAR qualified model, which uses up to 25 percent less energy than a standard model.
- Set your air conditioner at 78 degrees or higher to save on your cooling costs.
- Place your air conditioner in a central window, rather than a corner window, to allow for better air movement.
- Consider placing the unit on the north, east or the best-shaded side of your home. Your air conditioner will have to work harder and use more energy if it is exposed to direct sunlight.
- Seal spaces around the air conditioner with caulking to prevent cool air from escaping.
- Clean the cooling and condenser fans plus the coils to keep your air conditioner operating efficiently and check the filter every month and replace as needed.
- Use appliances such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and ovens early in the morning or late at night. This will also help reduce humidity and heat in the home.
- Use energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified light bulbs instead of standard incandescent light bulbs, and you can use 75 percent less energy.
- Microwave food when possible. Microwaves use approximately 50 percent less energy than conventional ovens.
- Dry clothes on a clothesline. If using a clothes dryer, remember to clean the dryer’s lint trap before every load.
- Be mindful of the different ways you’re consuming water throughout your home. Instead of using 30 to 40 gallons of water to take a bath, install a low-flow showerhead, which uses less than 3 gallons a minute.
- Lowering the temperature setting on your wash machine and rinsing in cold water will reduce energy use.
- Additional tips on how to conserve energy is available on NYSERDA’s website here.