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Heat Safety

Heat Safety

During periods of extreme heat we'll declare a heat emergency and open community centers as cooling centers. Please check on your neighbors and the elderly to make sure they're okay.

Need to know Terms
  • Heat Wave: Three or more days of temperatures above 90ºF.
  • Excessive Heat Warning: Daytime highs of more than 105°F for two or more hours.
  • Heat Advisory: Daytime highs of 100ºF to 104ºF for two or more hours.
Still have questions? Contact:
Emergency Management
1 City Hall Square
Room 204
Boston, MA 02201
United States

Cooling Centers and Pools

Community centers become cooling centers during a heat emergency. Anyone can swim in one of our 17 pools or cool off inside with air conditioning.

North End Greenway Park

Summer Safety Tips

Boston Public Health Commission
  Summer Safety Tips

Emergency Tips and Facts

Don't Leave Children or Pets in Cars

Never leave children and pets alone in cars. Cars heat up quickly even if the windows are slightly open.

  • If you see an animal locked in a car on a hot day, find the owner as soon as possible. If you can't find the owner, call 911 or contact Animal Care and Control.
  • When leaving your car, check to be sure everyone is out. Don't forget about sleeping children.

  • Keep a stuffed animal in your car seat to remind yourself when a child is in the car. When the child is buckled in, place the stuffed animal in front with the driver. 

Watch Out for Those at High Risk

Infants, children, people age 65 and older, and the homeless are at greater risk for heat-related illness. Other high risk people are those who are physically ill or who take certain medications.

  • Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Watch infants and young children often.
  • Plan to check on family, friends, neighbors, and the elderly who do not have air conditioning or who are often alone. 
  • Contact the Elderly Commission at 617-635-4366 or 311 for after hours help.
  • If you observe someone who appears passed out, call 911 immediately. 


Drink Water and Stay Hydrated

Drink more water no matter how active you are. Avoid alcohol and sugary or caffeinated drinks. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink.

Warning: If your doctor limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink when it's hot.

Wear Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen

Adults and children should use sunscreen containing an SPF-15 or higher and wear protective, loose fitting clothing, including long sleeve shirts and hats.

Stay Cool Indoors

A few hours in air conditioning can help your body stay cool when you go back into the heat. Electric fans will not prevent heat-related illness.

  • Stay indoors and in an air-conditioned place if possible.
  • If your home doesn't have air conditioning, go to a shopping mall or public library.
  • Take a cool shower or bath. 
  • Use your stove and oven less to maintain a cooler temperature in your home.
Rest Often in Cool, Shaded Areas

Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

  • If you become lightheaded, confused, weak or faint, stop all activity and find shade or a cool area to rest. Call 911 immediately if your symptoms don't improve.

  • Use a buddy system when working outside.

  • Let your body acclimate to the heat before you try to exercise.

Prepare your Home
  • Use child window guards in addition to screens on any open window on the second story or above. 
  • Install window air conditioners securely and insulate if necessary.
  • Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
  • Reflect heat back outside by installing temporary window reflectors between windows and drapes, such aluminum foil-covered cardboard.
  • Weather-strip doors and sills to keep cool air in.
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings or louvers. Outdoor awnings or louvers can reduce the heat entering a home by up to 80 percent.
  • Keep storm windows up all year.

News and Announcements

BCYF Mirabella Pool
Aug 10

Mayor Walsh Declares Heat Emergency Effective Thursday Through Saturday

Mayor's Office
BCYF Clougherty Pool
Jul 22

Mayor Walsh Declares Heat Emergency

Mayor's Office
Frog Pond in the Boston Common
Jul 13

Mayor Walsh issues safety tips for hot weather

Mayor's Office