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By Patrick D. Rosso, Town Correspondent (Boston.com)
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today issued a heat advisory reminding residents to stay safe and healthy as the City enters its third official heat wave of the season. Mayor Menino and the Boston Public Health Commission are urging residents to stay hydrated and in shaded or air conditioned areas whenever possible. The City is also asking employers to limit outdoor work for employees during the warmest hours. Residents can cool off at more than 50 Boston Parks Department water spray features, in air conditioned community centers, and at City pools and beaches.
“With another heat wave upon us, it’s important for everyone, especially children and the elderly, to be smart and take precautions,” Mayor Menino said. “Today we’re asking residents and visitors to stay hydrated and out of the hot sun whenever possible. We hope people will take advantage of all the resources we have available out in the neighborhoods.”
• The City of Boston Elderly Commission today issued a robocall to 30,000 Boston seniors advising them of the heat, precautions they should be taking, and providing the number to the Mayor’s 24-hour hotline for assistance: 617-635-4500.
• The Boston Housing Authority has activated cooling centers at all its elderly & disabled properties, and will be checking on elders and door knocking to provide heat safety resources to residents through the remainder of the week.
• All Boston Centers for Youth & Families sites are open today and serving as cooling centers. A full list of BCYF cooling centers is available here: http://www.cityofboston.gov/images_documents/CoolingCentersJuly162013_tcm3-17934.pdf.
• The Emergency Hot Weather Protocol is in effect for homeless service providers in the city. All adult emergency shelters are open 24 hours/day to offer a cool place to rest or stay. Guests have the option to stay in shelters during the day rather than go out if they so choose. Outreach teams are patrolling the city, checking in on people, providing water, and offering rides to shelter for anyone that’s interested. If you’re concerned that a homeless person is experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
• Boston Public Schools are ensuring that all students participating in summer programming have plenty of water and are protected from the heat.
• Boston Parks Department operates more than 50 water spray features throughout the city from mid-June to mid-September from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. unless otherwise posted.
Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to heat-related illnesses and injuries, but everyone should remember to limit their activities during very hot weather, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol. When outdoors, limit strenuous activity, wear sunscreen and loose, light-colored clothing, and rest often in cool, shady areas. Additional measures to beat the heat include avoiding cooking, taking cool showers or baths, and staying in air conditioned areas whenever possible.
Heat related illness such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke can be fatal if untreated and need to be taken seriously, particularly for elderly and younger populations. Residents should follow heat safety precautions and pay attention to the warning signs such as nausea, dizziness, and headaches. If symptoms persist, call 9-1-1 immediately. Family, friends and neighbors are also urged to check in frequently with elderly residents who may need assistance during the hot weather.
• One of the best things anyone can do to stay safe in the water is to learn how to swim and to follow basic water safety rules.
• Never swim alone, and always swim in areas with lifeguards. Only swim in areas designated for swimming.
• Actively watch children when they are swimming. Young children should always remain within arm’s reach of an adult that is comfortable/skilled in the water.
• Obey all “No Diving” signs.
• If you’re boating, always wear or keep U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets on board for all passengers.
The Office of Emergency Management is monitoring the weather and will be providing weather forecast updates to city departments and coordinating city response. City supervisors have also been asked to be mindful of the heat and limit outdoor activity of City staff.
For questions about heat-related city services, residents should call the Mayor’s 24-Hour Hotline at 617-635-4500. Comprehensive heat safety tips and resources are available on the city website at http://www.cityofboston.gov/heat
Follow @NotifyBoston and #becoolboston on Twitter for heat related updates.