PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia residents were working to stay cool Tuesday as the city issued a Heat Health Emergency that began at 8 a.m. and is set to expire Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.
The emergency designation opens up several city services, especially for the most vulnerable citizens. The heatline, at 215-765-9040, is manned by The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and already received dozens of calls Tuesday.
The line is open for those looking for safety tips and heat-related medical issues. Seniors are urged to call to find a cooling center if they do not have air conditioning.
Nolan Lawrence with The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging said they have a staff of nurses to be dispatched to someone's home if needed:
"The most important thing is the knowledge of how to stay cool. Then the important thing, now that COVID is over, is how to contact them and get them to cooling centers, between the libraries and the senior centers," said Lawrence.
The City Health Department's epidemiologists work with the National Weather Service and consider several factors including the heat index and overnight temperatures when determining if there needs to be a Heat Health Emergency.
SEPTA turned six buses into cooling stations and parked them in different areas around the city. With the help of The Philadelphia Fire Department, they alerted residents and people passing by to take a few minutes to cool off.
"I'm walking down 29th Street, and it's hot," said Kelly Stone of North Philadelphia. "I'm like, 'I can't breathe.' I got to get a water. it takes your breath away."
Seger Playground in Center City was also busy on Tuesday with kids jumping in the splash park. The City's rolling opening of pools begins Wednesday.
In South Philadelphia, the best way to stay cool is with Pop's Homemade Water Ice.
"Today just walking I felt like I had something covering my chest, it's just unbearable. I keep cool and have a South Philly water ice at Pop's every day," said Frank Digirolamo.
The following libraries will operate with extended hours on Tuesday, June 29 and Wednesday, June 30. Masks are strongly recommended at the library cooling centers.
Open until 7pm:
- Frankford Library at 4634 Frankford Avenue
- Lillian Marrero Library at 601 West Lehigh Avenue
- Widener Library at 2808 West Lehigh Avenue
Open until 8pm:
- Blanche A. Nixon Cobbs Creek Library at 5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway
- Fox Chase Library at 501 Rhawn Street
- Lucien E. Blackwell Regional Library at 125 South 52nd Street
- Whitman Library at 200 Snyder Avenue
SEPTA Cooling Buses
The City is working with SEPTA to make air-conditioned buses available for folks to drop in to cool off. The buses will be open between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29 and Wednesday, June 30. Consistent with City guidance on masking on public transit, masks are required on the SEPTA cooling buses.
- Germantown and Allegheny Avenues
- Wyoming and Rising Sun Avenues
- 52nd Street and Larchwood Avenue
- Broad and Snyder Streets
- 22nd and Moore Streets
- N. 29th and York Streets
Parks and Recreation Spraygrounds
Residents are also encouraged to visit any of the Parks and Recreation Department's 92 spraygrounds.
City-run Vaccine Clinics
City-run vaccine clinics may need to close early due to the heat health emergency. Call 311 or visit www.phila.gov/vaccine for updates or to reschedule your appointment.
Help the homeless
If you see someone on the street who needs help you can call (215) 232-1984. Call 911 if there is a medical emergency.
Keep an eye on pets
During excessive heat, all dogs must have one or more separate areas of shade large enough to accommodate the entire body of the dog at one time and protect it from the direct rays of the sun. Owners can face a $500 fine (and can put their pets in grave danger) if they don't follow ACCT Philly's requirements. To report a dog left outdoors in very hot weather, call (267) 385-3800.