About Cooling Centers

Cooling centers are places where people may go to cool down during hot weather. Cooling centers may include air-conditioned facilities like libraries, community and senior centers, schools, and malls. Recreational areas, including spray parks and community pools, may be included as part of a plan for helping the public cool down during hot weather. Cooling centers are especially important for more vulnerable groups of people, including older adults, children, and those without access to air conditioning in their home or place of work.

The Importance of Staying Cool

It is important to stay cool when temperatures are high, especially during several hot days in a row. Spending a few hours a day in air conditioning during extreme heat, can prevent or reduce heat-related illness and heat stress.

Heat-related illness occurs when the body is unable to cool itself. The most common heat-related illnesses are heat stroke (sun stroke), heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash. For more on identifying the symptoms of heat-related illness, first aid response, and other strategies for staying cool, check out Keep Your Cool During Summer Heat.

New York State Cooling Centers

The New York State Department of Health works with the county health departments and county emergency management offices to provide information about cooling centers. This information is updated frequently during the summer. Before going, it is important to call ahead to make sure the cooling center is open. Some cooling centers are only open during regular business hours or during officially declared heat emergencies and extreme heat events.

Some counties may not share information with us about cooling centers in their communities. If a cooling center is not available near you, remember that libraries, supermarkets, malls, and community swimming pools are always good places to go to stay cool. Cooling Centers in New York City can be found by visiting their Cooling Centers page.

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