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District Ready to Beat the Heat

Friday, July 22, 2016
Cooling centers, extended pool and splash park hours offered to residents

Contact: Olivia Walton Dedner (OCA) – (202) 724-5543; [email protected]
Sarah Case-Herron (HSEMA) – (202) 437-6494; [email protected]
Vince Morris (Pepco) – 202-740-4324; [email protected]

(Washington, DC) – District agency directors today joined City Administrator Rashad Young and Pepco Holdings representatives at Greenleaf Recreation Center to address the activation of the government’s 2016 Heat Emergency Plan throughout the upcoming heat wave. The annually reviewed plan provides a course of action for services and amenities to assist residents in seeking relief from the heat whenever the actual temperature or heat index reaches 95 degrees. It also includes the activation of the Hyperthermia Hotline (1-800-535-7252) and details about cooling centers at recreation centers and other facilities. With temperatures forecasted to hover around the 100 degree marker, the District’s heat emergency activation is scheduled to run through Monday, July 25.

During the press conference, the City Administrator was joined by Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) Director Chris Geldart, Department of Health (DOH) Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Department of Human Services (DHS) Director Laura Zeilinger, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Keith Anderson, and Pecpo Holdings Senior Vice President Bill Gausman. During this heat wave, in addition to the general Heat Emergency Plan provisions, hours at select spray parks in all eight wards have been extended to until 9 pm each weekday. On Saturday, July 23, select pools and recreation centers will also offer extended hours as well.

To accommodate residents experiencing homelessness, low-barrier shelters will remain open 24/7 and the Adam’s Place Day Center will be open Saturday and Sunday from 7 am until 7 pm. As they do during every heat emergency, United Planning Organization (UPO) vans will be canvassing various areas throughout the city for persons suffering from heat-related stress and to provide transport to one of the cooling centers.

Director Comments:

“We take this emergency seriously,” said City Administrator Young in his introductory comments. “We want District residents to have every confidence that whenever we have a weather event – snow, heat or otherwise – that we are prepared to deploy the services required to keep our communities healthy and safe.”

“If you have any neighbors that could be susceptible to the heat, check on them, they are your neighbors,” said Director Geldart as he reminded residents of the overwhelming impact of the heat. “We will monitor the weather closely and work with the City Administrator to monitor our activities.”

“Heat stroke is a serious illness characterized by a body temperature of greater than 105 degrees,” said Director Nesbitt. “Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heatstroke that may develop upon continued exposure to high temperatures. Both should be taken seriously.”

“Heat waves are particularly dangerous for people who are experiencing homelessness on the streets. If you see someone who needs transportation to one of our cooling centers or emergency shelters, contact the Hyperthermia Hotline immediately at 1-800-535-7252,” added Director Zeilinger.
“Our spray parks are safer and more fun than opening fire hydrants,” reminded Director Anderson. “Opening fire hydrants is prohibited. You can get hurt and you are using water that our firefighters may need to use to save your home or your life.”

“Pepco has all of its resources available to respond in coordination with emergency management partners if any outages occur during this heat wave,” said SVP Gausman.

Residents are being urged to plan ahead for the escalating temperatures by drinking plenty of water, checking on elderly neighbors and friends, and remaining in shaded and air-conditioned places as much as possible. Updated information about the Heat Emergency Plan and how to identify the warning signs of heat exhaustion are available at heat.dc.gov.