In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Chicago has joined the State of Illinois in issuing a Stay at Home order effective Saturday, March 21st at 5pm CT. In addition, City of Chicago facilities are closed to the public. Staff are prioritizing essential services to protect the health and safety of our residents and employees. As such, we may be delayed in responding to non-essential inquiries and service requests. To stay up to date on the City of Chicago’s COVID-19 response, please visit the City Coronavirus Response Center site.
Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, along with officials from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS), Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and other departments and sister agencies, today urged residents to take extra precautions as Chicago faces several days of extremely high temperatures.
“Our City departments are working around the clock conducting wellbeing checks and outreach to ensure our most vulnerable residents have access to facilities that provide relief from the extreme heat,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “All residents of Chicago have a role to play in this effort, which is why we’re asking everyone to check on their neighbors during the extreme temperatures and to call for assistance when necessary.”
According to the National Weather Service, heat will build to dangerous levels Thursday through Saturday. Temperatures will reach into the high 90s on all three of those days and the heat index—the combined effect of heat and humidity—could exceed 105 degrees. Even after the sun goes down, temperatures will remain in the high 70s.
Residents in need of relief from the heat may visit City facilities that are also serving as cooling centers including Chicago Public Library locations, Chicago Police Department stations, Chicago Park District field houses, DFSS Community Service Centers and DFSS Senior Centers. DFSS is also extending hours at the City’s six cooling centers to operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. To locate a cooling center, residents can call 3-1-1. Garfield Center, located at 10 S. Kedzie, will be open 24 hours to connect homeless residents to shelter.
“The City of Chicago is coordinating its resources and services to help keep Chicagoans safe from the dangerous heat conditions over the next several days,” said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. “As always, OEMC will continue to monitor weather conditions, large-scale events and is prepared to activate plans and alert the public should a situation warrant.”
To assist some of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations, such as homeless individuals, seniors and people with disabilities, the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Fire Department and DFSS and its delegate agencies are conducting wellness checks and outreach to ensure residents are aware of the City's designated cooling centers.
Residents are also encouraged to check on relatives, neighbors and friends during the next few days. If you are unable to make contact, you can request a wellbeing check by downloading the CHI311 app, visiting 311.chicago.gov, or calling 3-1-1.
“Helping our residents seek relief from the dangerous conditions caused by excessive heat is our top priority,” said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison-Butler. “Residents can call 3-1-1 to request wellbeing checks for their family and friends.”
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. A heatstroke is more serious and occurs when the body starts to lose its ability to regulate itself. The telltale signs of a heatstroke are:
If you see someone suffering from heatstroke, call 9-1-1 immediately and then try to move the person into a cool place and cool the person with water.
“As the temperatures rise, everyone should take care of themselves and also check on family members, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly, young children and people with underlying health conditions,” said CDPH Acting Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “We are also reminding the public to be aware of the signs and symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion during this period of prolonged excessive heat.”
Chicago’s beaches and pools will be open this weekend to provide respite from the heat. Swimming is allowed when lifeguards are on duty and beach-goers should heed any warnings by officials. Visitors should check www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/beaches for updates on water conditions.
In anticipation of the heat, the Chicago Department of Buildings (DOB) has proactively deployed its refrigeration inspectors to conduct site visits to senior facilities to mitigate equipment failures during the extreme weather. The inspectors will also be available to respond to any calls after hours on Thursday and Friday, as well as throughout the weekend. DOB will also issue citations to properties found to be in disrepair for failure to maintain their mechanical systems in good operating condition.
As part of their heat contingency plan, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) will be conducting wellbeing checks three times a day at each of its properties. In addition, the temperature of every CHA unit will be checked routinely to ensure it is at a safe level and the agency will have a supply of window unit air conditioners to use in an emergency should the need arise.
Those attending the approximately 80 outdoor activities taking place throughout the city this weekend, including the Pitchfork Festival, Disability Pride Parade, Chinatown Summer Fair and the Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon are encouraged to take precautions. Additional emergency preparedness information and tips are available on OEMC’s website: www.cityofchicago.org/oemc. For timely updates and other information, follow OEMC on Twitter via the handle @ChicagoOEMC and sign up for free emergency alerts at www.NotifyChicago.org.
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