City of New Haven extends beach and pool hours during hot week

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NEW HAVEN — The City of New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation, and Trees is extending hours at the Lighthouse Point Park beach, and at city pools located in Career, Hillhouse, Martinez and Wilbur Cross schools. This is due to the projected, excessively hot weather forecast for this week.

Officials say they will reevaluate conditions each day, but the plan is to have these hours until the 90 degree weather breaks.

  • Beach – Lifeguards on until 7 p.m.
  • Pools – Open until 8 p.m.
  • Splashpads — Close at sundown
    • Except the splashpad at Lighthouse Point Park — closes at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, extended hours aren’t the only way to stay cool and healthy. Bill Dixon, the city’s Director of Parks and Recreation, says the first thing he does when he wakes up on days when the weather is forecast to be hot is text all of his staff and kids’ camp directors with the word “WATER.” It’s his way of making certain children attending one of the Elm City’s summer camps are properly hydrated.

He says the camp counselors are instructed to give the children water at least every 15-20 minutes and to watch children closely for signs of dehydration.

Unhealthy air quality

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is forecasting unhealthy air quality for “sensitive groups” Tuesday, July 28 and Wednesday July 29, due to predicted elevated ground-level ozone pollution for southern sections of Fairfield and New Haven Counties on Tuesday, and all of Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex, and New London Counties on Wednesday.

A forecast of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” indicates increased likelihood of respiratory symptoms and breathing discomfort in active children and adults with respiratory disease, such as asthma and the elderly.

“Forecasters are predicting the hottest weather of the summer yet, so everyone should take simple precautions when high temperatures combined with poor air quality is expected,” said Commissioner Rob Klee.  “If you are outside at work or at play, be sure to drink plenty of water and get to an air conditioned room if you need to cool down and catch your breath.”

Health effects of air pollution

Unhealthy concentrations of ground level ozone can cause or make worse a variety of respiratory and other health problems including breathing difficulty, coughing, and throat irritation and worsen asthma episodes. Anyone can be affected by ozone; particularly sensitive groups that include children, elderly, people with respiratory disease, such as asthma, and even healthy adults who are very active outdoors.

Ground level or “bad” ozone primarily occurs during very warm summer days. Strong sunshine causes chemical reactions of air pollutants emitted from motor vehicles, power plants and industry and household activities, forming ozone. Warmer weather can bring high levels of ground level ozone (O3) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5). These two air pollutants pose serious health risks – especially to young children, elderly, adults who are active outdoors, and people with existing respiratory disease.

What you can do

When air pollution levels are predicted to be “unhealthy for sensitive groups” DEEP recommends:

  • Conserving electricity by setting air conditioners to 78 degrees
  • Wait ‘til 8” to use energy intensive appliances like washing machines, dryers and dishwashers
  • Driving less by carpooling or using public transit
  • Refueling your vehicle after dusk and never idling a vehicle unnecessarily