Photo by Ken Marshall/Flickr Creative Commons.

Editor’s note: Baltimore City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa on Friday extended the city’s Code Red Extreme Heat Alert through Monday. The dates of cooling centers openings have been edited to include this extension. Open times remain the same.

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa on Wednesday declared the city’s first Code Red Extreme Heat Alert of the season for Thursday through Sunday.

Cooling centers will open across Baltimore City.

Extreme heat alerts can be declared when heat is “severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of vulnerable Baltimore residents,” city officials said.

“Excessive heat is the leading weather-related killer in the United States,” Dzirasa said in a statement. “The effects of extreme heat are exacerbated in urban areas, especially when combined with high humidity and poor air quality. Extreme heat is particularly dangerous for young children, older adults, and those with chronic medical conditions. I encourage all residents to take the necessary steps to protect themselves as well as their families, neighbors, and pets.”

The ShopRite grocery store in Howard Park, located at 4601 Liberty Heights Ave., will be open as a community cooling center from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Residents can also visit their local Enoch Pratt Free Library branch during regular hours to seek relief from the heat.

The health department’s Division of Aging will open cooling centers on Thursday, Friday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Harford Senior Center
    4920 Harford Rd.
    (410) 426-4009
  • Hatton Senior Center
    2825 Fait Ave.
    (410) 396-9025
  • Sandtown Winchester Senior Center
    1601 Baker St.
    (410) 396-7724
  • Oliver Senior Center
    1700 N Gay St.
    (410) 396-3861
  • Zeta Center for Healthy and Active Aging
    4501 Reisterstown Rd.
    (410) 396-3535

The Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services will open cooling centers at varying days and times at the following locations:

  • My Sisters Place Women’s Center (women and children only)
    17 W Franklin St.
    Thursday – Monday
    10:30 am-5:30 pm
  • Manna House
    435 E. 25th St.
    Thursday, Friday, and Monday
    11:30 am-3:00 pm
  • Beans & Bread
    402 S. Bond St
    Thursday, Friday and Monday
    9:00 am-1:00pm
  • Franciscan Center
    101 W. 23rd St.
    Thursday, Friday and Monday
    10:00 am –1:00 pm

The city’s housing authority will open cooling centers on Thursday, Friday and Monday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Brooklyn Homes
    4140 10th St.
  • Cherry Hill Homes
    2700 Spelman Rd.

Residents visiting a cooling center should wear a face mask and maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Th health department advises residents not to visit a cooling center if they have the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Individuals experiencing any of these symptoms should call their healthcare professional.

The Baltimore City Recreation and Parks pools are open. Guests must register in advance online or by phone to secure a pool reservation, and they should arrive 5-10 minutes before their reservation to check in.

Pool staff will accept walk-up participants if individuals with a reservation do not show up after 15 minutes.

Baltimore health department officials advise residents to drink water regularly; avoid alcohol and caffeine; reduce time spent outside; stay inside during the hottest time of day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; visit air-conditioned locations; check on older, sick and otherwise vulnerable community members; do not leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles for any amount of time.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke include: confusion; nausea; lightheadedness; high body temperature with cool and clammy skin; hot, dry, flushed skin; rapid or slowed heartbeat.

For more information about cooling centers, call 311.

Call 911 if you or someone you know are having a heat-related emergency or experiencing signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at