Extreme Heat


Heat related deaths and illnesses are preventable. Despite this, around 618 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.

Cooling Centers
  • NYS’s Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Cooling Centers 
  • Pandemic-related disruptions have made traditional sites to stay out of the heat – shopping malls, movie theaters, community centers – unavailable. 
  • Buffalo and Erie County Public Libraries are open and available as cooling centers. Please call ahead as some hours of operation have changed. Visit www.buffalolib.org and click “Locations & Hours” for a complete listing of what is open today. Individuals entering the libraries must wear masks while inside and maintain social distancing.
  • Call 2-1-1 from any phone for cooling centers near you.
What is Extreme Heat?

Extreme heat is defined as summertime temperatures that are much hotter and/or humid than average. Because some places are hotter than others, this depends on what’s considered average for a particular location at that time of year. Humid and muggy conditions can make it seem hotter than it really is.

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.

Some factors that might increase your risk of developing a heat-related illness include:
  • High levels of humidity
  • Obesity
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Prescription drug use
  • Heart disease
  • Mental illness
  • Poor circulation
  • Sunburn
  • Alcohol use
Who is Most at Risk?

Older adults, the very young, and people with mental illness and chronic diseases are at highest risk. However, even young and healthy people can be affected if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather.

Low Income
Infants and Children
Outdoor Workers
Additional Resources

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