Philadelphia's Heat Health Emergency takes effect | What that means for you

"It's just so muggy. California is dry. Florida is dry. This is muggy. It's unbearable," said a Philly resident.

Katherine Scott Image
Monday, August 8, 2022
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A declaration of a Heat Health Emergency activates the city's emergency heat programs.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Heat Health Emergency in Philadelphia began at noon Monday and is scheduled to end Tuesday night.

Runner Jake Stein anticipated the temperatures and was out early for his run along the Delaware River.

"Outside of this, I'm staying indoors all day," remarked Stein.

He wasn't alone.

"I definitely don't run as far or as hard as I usually do," stated Aaron Moskowitz of Northern Liberties. "Just try to moderate it and get it when it's cool and cut it short when I need to."

For a lot of people we spoke to around Race Street Pier, what can really make breathing unpleasant is the air quality.

They look for shade and hopefully a little breeze off the water.

"I try to go a little earlier when it's this thick and icky out. Absolutely. But I see a lot of the same people- and so they are all dialing it earlier," said Lynne Smilow of Society Hill.

In Washington Square, Rachel Krauser was out with her daughter's dog, Moses, before it got too steamy.

"I'm out early today so we can take a nice long walk before it gets hot," said Krauser.

Thomas O'Hara of South Philadelphia has lived in different states and feels the heat here can be particularly nasty.

"It's just so muggy. California is dry. Florida is dry. This is muggy. It's unbearable," said O'Hara.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole issued a Heat Health Emergency, which is scheduled to end at 8 p.m. Tuesday, in response to the forecast maximum heat index values.

A declaration of a Heat Health Emergency activates the city's emergency heat programs, which include the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging Heatline, cooling centers and home visits by special field teams.

The PCA Heatline at 215-765-9040 will be open between 12 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Monday and will run from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

"The Health Department declares a Heat Health Emergency when the temperature gets high enough that vulnerable people - especially our elderly neighbors and family members - are at an increased risk of getting sick or dying from the heat," said Bettigole.

People who do not have air conditioning are advised to seek relief from the heat by visiting friends or relatives who have air conditioning. The City will be opening a variety of alternate cooling sites that will be available for use by all Philadelphia residents looking to escape the heat.

Cooling Centers

Libraries

These libraries will operate with extended hours on Monday and Tuesday:

Lucien E. Blackwell Regional Library

125 South 52nd Street

215-685-7431

Open until 7 p.m.

Joseph E. Coleman Regional Library

68 West Chelten Avenue

215-685-2150

Open until 7 p.m.

Blanche A. Nixon Cobbs Creek Library

5800 Cobbs Creek Parkway

215-685-1973

Open until 8 p.m.

Fox Chase Library

501 Rhawn Street

215-685-0547

Open until 8 p.m.

Frankford Library

4634 Frankford Avenue

215-685-1473

Open until 7 p.m.

Fumo Family Library

2437 South Broad Street

215-685-1758

Open until 7 p.m.

Haddington Library (meeting room only)

446 North 65th Street

215-685-1970

Open until 7 p.m.

Lillian Marrero Library (meeting room only)

601 West Lehigh Avenue

215-685-9794

Open until 7 p.m.

Logan Library

1333 Wagner Avenue

215-685-9156

Open until 7 p.m.

Oak Lane Library

6614 North 12th Street

215-685-2848

Open until 7 p.m.

Widener Library

2808 West Lehigh Avenue

215-685-9799

Open until 7 p.m.

Cooling Buses

The City of Philadelphia has partnered with SEPTA to station cooling buses with air conditioning that are available to the public at the following intersections:

- Germantown Avenue and Allegheny Avenue

- Wyoming Avenue and Rising Sun Avenue

- Broad Street and Snyder Avenue

- 70th Street and Woodland Avenue

Buses will be available to the public between 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, and between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Masks, hand sanitizer, water, and information about heat safety and utility assistance programs will be available on the buses. Press will NOT be given access inside of cooling buses, to allow residents to cool off in a private space.

Pools and Spraygrounds

Residents are also encouraged to visit any of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation's spraygrounds and pools. Pools will be offering free swim during open hours for the duration of the Heat Health Emergency.

Residents can find all of the identified Cooling Centers, as well as spraygrounds, on this map or by calling 311.

Older Adult Centers

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation's older adult centers will be open. Older Adult Centers all have air conditioning and are open 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Utility Shutoffs

Philadelphia Water Department shutoffs are suspended during a Heat Health Emergency. Shutoffs for non-payment will resume after the Heat Health Emergency ends.

Outreach and shelter for homeless individuals

The Office of Homeless Services also declared a Code Red that began Thursday, August 4, 2022, and will take proactive measures to protect Philadelphians who are experiencing homelessness. Call the outreach team at (215) 232-1984 if you see someone on the street who needs shelter or other homeless services. Call 911 if there is a medical emergency.