Austin city leaders urging residents to be prepared for summer heat

As temperatures continue to climb, city and county leaders held a press conference to discuss how to prepare for the heat.

"We need our community to prepare for a long, hot summer," said Ken Snipes, City of Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director.

Officials are urging residents and visitors to prepare for the heat.

"We want our community members to prepare themselves to be in the heat by taking certain precautions," said Mayor of Austin Kirk Watson.

This comes as EMS officials are already reporting an increase in heat-related injuries.

"Just over Memorial Day weekend, we saw a significant spike in heat-related illnesses from Friday until Monday. We responded to 54 heat-related emergencies. By comparison, in 2023, we only saw eight heat related emergencies since the beginning of April. We've already responded to 177 heat-related illnesses, which is almost a 90% increase over last year," said Chief Robert Luckritz with Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services.

City leaders say previous trends reveal three or more days over 100 degrees often lead to a spike in heat-related illnesses, so it is important to know the signs.

"Starting with the first heat cramps, muscle cramps, abdominal cramps. When you start to feel those things in the heat, it's important that you stop what you're doing, you move yourself to a cool place, and you wait for them to stop. If you fail to do that, this can lead to heat exhaustion," said Chief Luckritz.

As an added benefit, the City of Austin and Travis County also have cooling centers open to the public. These spots will be open during normal business hours and include libraries and park facilities. 


The city’s Homeless Strategy Office is also taking initiative during this hot weather.

"We've converted a parking lot in downtown Austin into what we call the Oasis. It's a place where people can come. They can get access to water or coffee if they come in the morning. It's open seven days a week. But most importantly, they also get connected with Urban Alchemy staff who can enroll those individuals in services or, if we have beds available, they can get them into shelter," said David Gray, with the Homeless Strategy Office.

In the end, the advice stays the same each time the weather gets warmer.

"Please hydrate, use sunscreen, drink lots of water, wear light, loose clothing and hats. Take frequent breaks and limit your activities to the early morning or evening if you can," said Chief Luckritz.