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Published on June 20, 2024
Philadelphia Declares Heat Health Emergency, Opens Cooling Centers to Combat Record-Temperature ForecastsSource: Google Street View

As the mercury soars, Philadelphia braces itself for what's shaping up to be an oven-hot weekend. Interim Health Commissioner Frank Franklin has declared a Heat Health Emergency for the city, slated to commence at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 20, and tentatively to end at midnight on Saturday, June 22. Amidst this scorcher, Philadelphians are urged to take precautions against the sweltering heat that's predicted to blanket the area, officials announced.

The city has mobilized a slew of emergency programs to help keep residents safe and cool. Dr. Frank Franklin emphasized the declaration was made “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,” The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s (PCA) Heatline is to set operate between 8:30 a.m. and midnight throughout the emergency, providing a lifeline for those seeking advice on how to handle the heat.

Mayor Cherelle L. Parker reinforced the city's commitment to public health in the face of soaring temperatures, underscoring that “The City is opening more cooling centers and sites for residents than we ever have before. That means it will be easier than ever to find a place in your neighborhood that can help keep you and your loved ones safe from the heat. And don’t forget to check on your neighbors too.” This move aims to ensure that every resident finds a nearby refuge from the unrelenting heat. A map of the city's 153 Cooling Centers and Sites can be found on Philadelphia's official website, or by simply dialing 311.

As the temperatures threaten to break records, residents are encouraged to use air conditioning or find solace at the various sanctioned cooling locations. For those struggling to keep their homes from turning into saunas, they're advised to visit an air-conditioned location for several hours during the worst of the heat. Moreover, scheduled utility shutoffs from the Philadelphia Water Department are being put on ice during this period to ensure continuous access to a crucial coolant: water.

The Office of Homeless Services is also initiating a Code Red, taking proactive steps to safeguard those without a roof over their heads. Likewise, special outreach to people experiencing homelessness is set to get a significant boost, with encouragement given for residents to keep an eye on each other. Dr. Franklin urged the public “The best way to protect our loved ones is to make sure they can get into air conditioning during the hottest part of the day. As always, we encourage Philadelphian to check on elderly friends and neighbors to make sure they’re safe and don’t need assistance. If you’re worried about someone’s health during the emergency, you can call the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging’s Heatline at 215-765-9040.”