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Mayor Wu Extends Heat Emergency in Boston Through Sunday, July 24

To help residents stay cool, cooling centers will remain open at 12 Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) community centers through Sunday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Today, Mayor Michelle Wu extended the previously announced heat emergency in the City of Boston through Sunday, July 24 due to the weather that is forecasted for this weekend. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid to high 90s. The heat emergency was previously scheduled to end today.

“With the weather forecast now showing the high temperatures and humidity lasting through the weekend, we’re extending the heat emergency to prioritize the well-being and safety of Boston’s families,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I encourage residents to continue to utilize our cooling centers and splash pads, and to check on your neighbors.” 

To help residents stay cool, cooling centers will remain open at 12 Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) community centers through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A full list of centers can be found at boston.gov/heat. Due to the rising COVID-19 case count, the use of masks in cooling centers is strongly recommended. Additionally, splash pads will be open at parks and playgrounds throughout the City. Select indoor BCYF pools are open and the outdoor BCYF Mirabella Pool is open through Sunday. Registration for a time to swim can be found at this link.

Boston Public Library locations are also available for residents to seek relief from the heat, and to find enriching activities and events.The Central Library in Copley Square will be open on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., while BPL neighborhood branch locations will be open on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  In addition, the East Boston and Egleston Square branches recently installed misters in their outdoor free WiFi zones.  

The City of Boston is taking critical immediate action to provide heat relief, including short-term, actionable steps toward relief during heat waves. The City of Boston has been engaging in a variety of catalytic projects to support extreme heat mitigation and improved health for residents. This includes the distribution of pop-up cooling kits with a hose, misters, and a tent to community organizations that have public events this summer. The cooling kits will be distributed over the coming weeks. 

The Boston Public Schools is encouraging students and their families to prepare for hot weather this week by staying well hydrated and dressing appropriately. Families are welcome to send their children to their respective summer programs, which will provide students with water and meals. 

Information on heat safety tips can be found online at boston.gov/heat and by following @CityofBoston on Twitter. Residents can sign up for AlertBoston, the City's emergency notification system, to receive emergency alerts by phone, email or text. Sign up online here. Residents are also encouraged to call 311 with any questions about available City services.

The Mayor issued the following heat safety tips for all members of the public:

  • Children and pets should never be left alone in vehicles, even for short periods of time.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids regardless of activity level. Avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids high in sugar or caffeine.
  • Keep cool with frequent cool showers, shade, and air conditioning or fans. 
  • Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas and be extra cautious from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., when the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation is strongest.
  • Know the signs of heat exhaustion. Heavy sweating, cool and clammy skin, dizziness, nausea, and muscle aches could all be signs of heat exhaustion. If symptoms persist, call 911 immediately. Do not delay care. Heat is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S. and can exacerbate underlying illnesses.
  • Adults and children should use sunscreen containing an SPF-30 or higher and wear protective, loose-fitting clothing including long sleeve shirts and hats.
  • If you have a child in your home, use child window guards in addition to screens on any open window on the second story or above. Falls are the leading cause of injury for children under the age of six. 
  • Secure all window air conditioner units according to the manufacturer's specifications.
  • If you are heading to a beach, lake, or pool to beat the heat, swim where lifeguards are present. Always watch children near the water and make sure they’re wearing a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • Please call or check on neighbors, especially older adults and people with disabilities.
  • Please keep pets indoors, hydrated, and cool as asphalt and ground conditions are significantly hotter and unsafe during heat.

Helping Individuals Experiencing Homelessness:

  • If you see individuals out in the heat who appear immobile or disoriented, please ask them if they need assistance and call 911 immediately.
  • The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) operates emergency shelters at 112 Southampton St. and 794 Massachusetts Ave. These facilities are air conditioned and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Amnesty has been called because of extremely high temperatures so those with non-violent restrictions can access shelter out of the heat. 
  • The City of Boston works closely with a network of shelter providers to ensure there is adequate shelter, food, water, and a cool respite from the heat.
  • Street outreach teams providing recovery services remain operating as normal during summertime weather.
  • The Engagement Center will be open to provide a cooling space.

Playground Safety:  

  • Shoes should be worn outdoors, including playgrounds and turf athletic fields, as  surfaces can become extremely hot and cause burns, even on splash pads and spray decks.

Outdoor Fires and Grilling:

  • No outdoor fires are allowed in Boston, including fire pits, chimineas, and bonfires.
  • Charcoal grills must be on the ground and away from buildings. Keep in mind the wind and never leave grills unattended. Dispose of the ash in a metal container once completely out.
  • Propane tank grills are only allowed on first floor porches with steps to the ground. Do not place propane tank grills near air conditioners or up against a building. Make sure all connections are tight and never carry propane tanks into a home.
  • Grills should always be used in a well-ventilated area.

Mayor Wu recently announced Heat Resilience Solutions for Boston, a citywide framework to prepare Boston for hotter summers and more intense heat events. The Heat Plan presents 26 strategies that will help build a more just, equitable, and resilient Boston. To support the implementation of the Heat Plan, the City will launch the Boston Extreme Temperatures Response Task Force, which will help deliver a unified, all-of-government response to address chronic high temperature conditions and prepare the city in advance of extreme heat events. The Task Force’s work will be supported by the Environment Department, the Office of Emergency Management, and the Boston Public Health Commission’s Office of Public Health Preparedness with the goal of collaboratively protecting and promoting the health and wellbeing of Boston residents facing increasing temperatures and other climate risks.

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