Extreme Heat & Summer Safety

  • Free Air Conditioner - call 1-800-342-3009 to find out if you are eligible to receive one through a Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) Cooling Assistance Benefit Program
  • Find a Cooling Center near you

Heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Despite this fact, more than 600 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year. Below you will find helpful tips, information, and resources to help you stay safe in the extreme heat this summer. 

Tips to Keep Cool
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car.
  • Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, malls and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Check yourself, family members and neighbors for signs of heat illness.
  • Use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF30. Apply it generously at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply it every 2 hours—even on a cloudy day.
  • Avoid strenuous activities and drink plenty of fluids (preferably water) to stay hydrated. This does not include alcohol which will further dehydrate you. Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water!
  • Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees. You could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort but do not reduce body temperature. See When to Use a Fan for more info.  
What Causes Heat-Related Illness?

Heat-related illnesses, like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, happen when the body is not able to properly cool itself. While the body normally cools itself by sweating, during extreme heat, this might not be enough. In these cases, a person’s body temperature rises faster than it can cool itself down. This can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs.  Certain risk factors that might increase your risk of developing a heat-related illness.  

Heat and Older Adults

People aged 65 years or older are more prone to heat-related health problems. If you’re an older adult or a caretaker, review this page for information on how you or the person you’re caring for can stay safe during the heat. 

Protect Your Pets 

Being overeager in hot weather can spell danger.  To prevent your pet from overheating, take these simple precautions provided by ASPCA experts and always contact your veterinarian for any questions you have regarding your pets.

Resources for the Homeless
Summer Food Safety 
Water Safety 
Additional Resources
  • Press Release - Extreme Heat Precautions - Be Prepared for this Weekend’s High Temperatures
  • Ready Erie App - Stay informed about emergencies, receive notifications, locate emergency shelters, view up-to-date evacuation maps, create a personalized emergency preparedness plan & more

Frequently Requested


Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations

Western New York 211