Boston Mayor Walsh Declares Heat Emergency, Opens Cooling Centers & Pools to All Residents, Offers Safety Tips

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Boston Mayor Walsh

BOSTON – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Thursday announced that in anticipation of the hot and humid weather that is forecasted for this weekend, the City of Boston has declared a heat emergency, beginning Friday at noon through Sunday evening. Temperatures are expected to be between 96 and 102 degrees with a real feel temperature of between mid 90s to 112 degrees.

To help residents stay cool, Mayor Walsh has declared that cooling centers will be open at Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) community centers and residents can swim at the City’s pools free of charge. A full list of centers including hours of operation and a brief form to fill out before swimming is available here.

Information on heat safety tips can be found online at boston.gov/heat and by following @CityofBoston on Twitter. Residents can sign up for Alert Boston, 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.
  • Adults and children should use sunscreen containing an SPF-30 or higher and wear protective, loose-fitting clothing, including hats.
  • Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours. Rest often in shady areas and be extra cautious from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the sun’s UV radiation is strongest.
  • Keep cool with showers, shade, and ventilation. If you need help finding a place to cool off, call 311. The City of Boston operates outdoor and indoor pools, splash pads and spray decks, and several beaches in Boston at which you can cool off.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids regardless of activity level. Avoid alcoholic beverages and liquids high in sugar or caffeine.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Please check on neighbors, especially older adults, and people with disabilities. Community partners are encouraged to share information on preparedness, safety, and resources within their networks. Additional tips and resources can be found at boston.gov/heat, including information sheets translated into 10 languages.

Helping the Homeless:

  • If you see homeless individuals out in the heat who appear immobile or disoriented, please call 911. Please ask them if they need assistance.
  • The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) operates emergency shelters at 112 Southampton St. and 794 Massachusetts Ave. These facilities are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • The City of Boston works closely with a network of shelter providers to ensure there is adequate shelter, food, and a cool respite from the heat.
  • Street outreach teams providing recovery services, including the Engagement Center behind 112 Southampton St., remain operating as normal during summertime weather.

Playground Safety:

  • Children should always wear shoes on playgrounds because surfaces can become extremely hot and cause burns, even 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 unattended. When done, 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.

Mosquitoes and Ticks:

  • If you are in a grassy or wooded area, apply a DEET containing repellent that will protect against mosquitoes AND ticks. Always check yourself, children, and pets for ticks after returning indoors and remove attached ticks immediately using tweezers. Mosquito bites can spread West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), while attached ticks can spread Lyme disease.
  • Limit your time outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active and apply an approved mosquito repellent.

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