Philly declares heat health emergency with temperatures nearing 100 degrees

Philadelphia sprayground summer camps

Spraygrounds in Philadelphia opened Monday, and kids at Mander playground were among the first to enjoy the streams. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Philadelphia has declared its first heat health emergency of the summer, as temperatures are forecasted to hit nearly 100 degrees to kick off the week.

The designation, which begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday and runs through midnight, may be extended if the forecast changes. Heat indexes are forecasted at over 110 degrees.

The city’s “heatline” is accepting calls for those in need at 215-765-9040.

Members of the public are encouraged to call if they have questions about precautions they can take against the heat and detecting signs of heat stress. City health officials will be on-site to speak with callers about heat-related medical problems.

Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley encouraged Philadelphians to check in on family members, neighbors and loved ones, especially those who are vulnerable.

“This can be done socially distanced, by phone or — if they are tech savvy enough — by video,” he said in a statement.

The city advises those without air conditioning to seek relief at a friend’s or relative’s home — while remaining socially distant and wearing a mask to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

During heat health emergencies, the city also increases outreach to Philadelphians experiencing homelessness. If you see someone on the street who needs help, you can call 215-232-1984. Call 911 if there is a medical emergency.

Excessive heat affects animals as well. All dogs must have shade to protect them from the sun. If you do not provide your dog shade, you could face a fine of $500 or more.

To report dogs left outdoors in extreme heat, contact ACCT Philly at 267-385-3800 or file a report online. ACCT also provides free straw for outdoor pet shelters. See here for more information about dog shelter requirements during severe weather.

Since the coronavirus pandemic has forced the closure of Free Library locations, the city will be opening alternate cooling sites to accommodate residents in the excessive heat. Residents will still be expected to socially distance and wear a mask while at these sites:

Libraries

Lower occupancy limits and enhanced cleaning will be implemented to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection. The following libraries will be open between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday:

  • Haddington Library at 446 North 65th Street
  • Lillian Marrero Library at 601 West. Lehigh Avenue
  • Logan Library at 1333 Wagner Avenue

Schools

The following sites will be open between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday.

  • West Philadelphia High School at 49th and Chestnut streets
  • Kensington High School for Creative and Performing Arts at 1901 North Front Street

SEPTA Cooling Buses

Air-conditioned buses will be available for residents to stop by and cool off. Buses are expected to be open between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Monday at the following locations:

  • Germantown and Allegheny avenues
  • Wyoming and Rising Sun avenues
  • Frankford and Allegheny avenues
  • 52nd Street and Larchwood Avenue

Spraygrounds

Philadelphia’s 92 spraygrounds remain open. Residents are encouraged to stay socially distanced when visiting spraygrounds and to wear a mask when not in the water.

City officials have said the small risk posed by spraygrounds during the coronavirus pandemic is far outweighed by the benefits, particularly for young children.

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