Code Red Extreme Heat Alert Information

Code Red Extreme Heat Alert Information


The Health Commissioner declares a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert during periods of extreme heat, when the forecasted heat index is equal to 105˚F or higher. The decision to activate a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert on a particular day will be made before 6 A.M. of that day, if possible.

If you are unsure whether a Code Red Extreme Heat Alert is in effect, call 311 for details. 311 operators will provide cooling center locations, safety tips and information about warning signs for heat-related illness.

Individuals can also call 311 to report specific concerns about vulnerable neighbors on Code Red Extreme Heat Alert days. Call 911 if you are having a heat-related emergency.

MOHS and Code Red

On Code Red Extreme Heat Alert days, MOHS will coordinate water distribution to people throughout the city who are experiencing homelessness.

Individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness are encouraged to seek shelter and/or visit cooling centers, listed below. Call 211 or check out these resources if you are experiencing homelessness and in need of help. 

Tips on Staying Cool and Staying Safe

During periods of extreme heat, the Baltimore City Health Department recommends that city residents:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Reduce outdoor activities, particularly in direct sunlight, and stay in air-conditioned locations
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles, even for short periods of time
  • Check on older, sick, or frail neighbors who may need help responding to the heat

Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, including:

  • Confusion
  • Hot, dry, flushed skin or cool and clammy skin
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea

Call 911 immediately if any of these symptoms occur.

Cooling Centers

During the 2020 Code Red Extreme Heat season, the City of Baltimore is modifying its cooling center plans in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff from several city agencies, including the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and the Health Department, will coordinate the opening of cooling centers around the City. When it is safe to do so, cooling centers will offer air-conditioned space and cool water for residents without access to air conditioning.

Residents who want to visit a cooling center to seek relief from the heat are encouraged to call the cooling center prior to arrival to ensure space is available. To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, residents who visit a cooling center are reminded to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. 

You should not visit a cooling center if you have any of the following symptoms of COVID-19:

  • 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

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call a healthcare professional and discuss your symptoms. Call 2-1-1 or visit this page for more information on COVID-19. 

Hours and availability of cooling centers are subject to change. When it is safe to do so, the following locations will serve as cooling centers:

Senior Centers – open as cooling centers on Code Red Extreme Heat days, Monday through Friday from 9:00AM to 7:00PM. 

  • Waxter Center for Senior Citizens
    1000 Cathedral St.
    (410) 396-1324
  • Oliver Center
    1700 Gay St.
    (410) 396-3861
  • Sandtown-Winchester Center
    1601 N. Baker St.
    (410) 396-7725
  • Hatton Center
    2825 Fait Ave.
    (410) 396-9025
  • John Booth Center
    2601 E. Baltimore St.
    (410) 396-9202
  • Zeta Center
    4501 Reisterstown Rd.
    (410) 396-3535
  • Harford Center
    4920  Harford Rd.
    (410) 426-4009

*Baltimore City Health Department Senior Centers are closed on holidays.

Community Cooling Center

ShopRite of Howard Park

4601 Liberty Heights Ave.

(410) 664-0240

Monday through Sunday, 6:00AM to 10:00PM

Additional cooling centers will be opened during extended heat events.  Please call 311 before leaving home for the latest cooling center hours and information.