Public Health

Be Climate Ready

The Department of Public Health Reminds you to Be Climate Ready. Always stay informed, prepared, and have a plan.

Below you will find information and tips on how you can prepare. Feel free to jump to a specific section:

Extreme Heat
Extreme Cold
Pet Preparedness
Extreme Weather Task Force
West Nile Virus

Extreme Heat

We remind our community to be mindful of extreme heat during the summer. Stay cool, stay hydrated and always stay informed!

Stay Cool

Find places in your community where you can go to get cool. The City Of El Paso offers cooling centers during extreme heat warnings. Call 2-1-1 for more information to find the nearest cooling center to you. Here are some tips on how to keep your home cool during periods of extreme heat:

  • Cover your windows with drapes or shades
  • Add insulation to keep the heat out
  • Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.
  • Weather-strip doors and windows
  • Use window reflectors such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard to reflect heat back outside.

Those who are in need of a fan can dial 2-1-1 to check for eligibility criteria and receive details on how to receive a free fan.

If you plan on being outside, be prepared. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face and find shade. Wear loose, lightweight, and light-colored clothing. Remember to always use a minimum of SPF 15 and to apply at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Remember to apply to ears, scalp, lips, neck, tops of feet, and the back of hands. If you perspire heavily or will be in the water, remember to reapply at least every 2 hours.

Avoid strenuous activities. They increase the chance of dehydration which can lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or a heat stroke.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids.

Stay Informed

Keep updated through the local news for any weather updates. Know if your area will be affected due to the extreme weather and look out for information on planned power outages. Have a plan in place in case of emergencies. Check yourself, your family members, and your neighbors.

Never leave people or pets in a closed car. Never leave children in a car, even for a minute. Children’s temperature can rise 3-5 degrees higher than an adult's. Cars can get dangerously hot fast. Have a plan for your family and pets before needing to leave your home. Plan to leave them with someone or take them down with you.

Do NOT leave your pet inside a Car!

Leaving pets locked in cars is never safe. But when the weather gets warmer, it can be deadly. High temperatures can cause irreparable organ damage and even death. Protecting animals from unnecessary death is a problem we can all agree to prevent.

Cool outside doesn't mean cool in the car!

  • When it's 72 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 116 degrees Fahrenheit within an hour.
  • When it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit outside, the temperature inside your car can heat up to 99 degrees Fahrenheit within 10 minutes.
  • Rolling down the windows has been shown to have little effect on the temperature inside a car.

What to do when you see an animal in a hot vehicle:

  • Call 3-1-1 to report.
  • Report the location, vehicle description, and license plate number.
  • Stay or have somebody stay and keep an eye on the animal until help arrives.

Can Animals Get Sunburned?

For more information call 3-1-1 or 2-1-1 for a list of available services.

Free Cooling Stations

The City of El Paso is offering FREE cooling stations. The cooling stations are open on the following schedules:

Monday - Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday from noon - 7 p.m.

Cooling stations are available at:

  • Galatzan Rec Center, 650 Wallenberg Dr. (Districts 1 and 8)
  • Memorial Park Senior Center, 1800 Byron St. (District 2)
  • Veterans Rec Center, 5301 Salem Dr. (District 4)
  • Chamizal Rec Center, 2101 Cypress Ave. (District 8)
  • Gary Del Palacio Rec Center, 3001 Parkwood St. (Districts 3 and 7)
  • Valle Bajo Community Center, 7380 Alameda Ave. (District 3 and 7)
  • Marty Robbins Rec Center, 11620 Vista del Sol Dr. (Districts 5, 6, and 7)

Don't Get Stung By The Sun

UV Radiation from the sun can be dangerous. It can cause premature aging and skin cancer. We are exposed to the sun when it penetrates clouds and gas and bounced off snow, water, and sand. Sun damage accumulates over the years, from prolonged outdoor exposure to simple activities like walking the dog, going from your car to the store, and outdoor gardening.

Tips to keep you and your family safe from UV radiation:

  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Don’t get sunburned.
  • Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Avoid tanning, and never use UV tanning beds.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.

Sunscreen Dispensers

The City of El Paso averages 297 days of sunshine each year. Affectionately known as the “Sun City”, it is home to more than 250 parks and 3,000 acres of open space. While El Pasoans appreciate many days of joyous sunshine, those UV rays can be harmful to the unprotected. Nearly 90% of all melanomas are thought to be caused by exposure o UV light and sunlight.

The Sun Smart campaign - in partnership with the Rio Grande Cancer Foundation and the City of El Paso is aimed to provide sunscreen dispensers for our most vulnerable population – our children.

Look for the bright yellow dispensers in city spray parks and public gathering places sponsored by El Paso Live. Dispensers are also along the Playa Drain Trail, a city-wide trail beginning at Ascarate Park.

The Foundation is pleased to provide ‘loaners’ for your sun-filled events. Please send your request for dispensers via email to [email protected]. Email your contact information, date of your event, anticipated numbers, and location.

 Don't Get Stung By The Sun

Extreme Weather Task Force (EWTF)

The EWTF provides free fans to qualified individuals. In addition, the task force provides education for the community about the necessary steps to be prepared and protected from the effects of severe weather. EWTF encourages the “Buddy System” through the community to check on their neighbors and elderly family members. Call 2-1-1 to request or donate a fan.

Prepare For The Wind

Windy weather and dust storms can affect our health and safety. When winds are sustained at 40mph damage is possible. During strong thunderstorms, wind speeds can exceed 100MPH. High winds can blow objects around and pose a significant threat to your safety.

Follow these tips to stay safe during the windy months ahead.

  • Listen to weather alerts. Sign up for reverse notification systems or follow the National Weather Service on social media.
  • Plan your day accordingly to avoid times when strong winds are expected.
  • People who are at risk should take special precautions: infants, the elderly, and people with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or other respiratory diseases.
  • Pick up around your yard, check the trees on your property, and inspect your roof for weakness.
  • Reinforce windows, doors, and your garage door.
  • Prepare an emergency kit. For a complete list of items that you should have in your kit visit,

See Wind Zones in the United States

During A Wind Or Dust Storm

  • Take Shelter: Go inside a sturdy building and move to an interior room or basement.
  • If Driving: Anticipate gust, keep a distance from larger vehicles, and hold the steering wheel with both hands. If the wind becomes severe, move off the road, and take shelter in your car away from trees and power lines. Remember to set the emergency brake and keep your seatbelt on.
  • In a Dust Storm: Get indoors, close all windows and turn off AC units.

See Indoor Safe Zones

After A Wind Or Dust Storm

  • Power Outages: Strong winds can interrupt power and communication systems. Do not go near down powered lines and report any downed power lines to the police. For a list of possible power outages in your area visit:
  • Keep Updated: Listen to local news for updates.
  • Be Careful: Remember to be careful when handling debris that may have blown into your yard.

Protect Your Body From The Wind

  1. Moisturize: Skin can benefit from additional moisture in windy conditions. Remember to use oil-based creams and lip balm during the windy season.
  2. Bundle Up: Winds are damaging to the skin, so keep out of the elements as much as possible. While outdoors, wear gloves, hats, and other warm clothing. If you are going to be outside for extended periods of time, consider the use of a ski mask.

Protect Your Body From Cold
: Keep your fluid intake high to ensure your skin is prepared from the inside out.


Pet Preparedness

Your pet is family. Their safety and well-being are a priority for you every day, but have you thought about what you would do with your pet in an emergency?

5 Ways To Prep Your Pet For Emergencies

Although you can never completely control what will happen during an emergency, you can take steps to be as prepared as possible. By taking some easy actions now, you can avoid having to make difficult and dangerous decisions during an emergency.

  1. Get your pet microchipped. Pets can be located if a shelter or veterinary clinic scans the chip. Finding a lost pet that hasn’t been microchipped can be extremely difficult and many times impossible. If your pet is already microchipped, make sure the registration info is up-to-date so you can be contacted if your pet is found.
  2. Prepare a disaster kit for your pet ahead of time, along with your family’s personal needs. Include everything your pet will need, from food and prescriptions to leashes and bedding. Don’t forget your contact information and a photo of your pet; preferably one of you with your pet as further proof of ownership.
  3. Plan where your pet will stay in case you need to evacuate. Pets are often not allowed in evacuation centers unless they are service animals.
  4. Use a buddy system with friends, family, and neighbors in case you’re not home during an emergency. Have a trusted person you can call to check on pets and evacuate them if necessary.
  5. Practice evacuating or sheltering in place with your pet. Training pets to be in their carriers can make them more comfortable and reduce the stress of getting everyone out safely.

For sheltering in place, pick a room with few or no windows, no toxic chemicals or plants, and make sure to close off small areas where frightened pets could get stuck. Include your pet in your family’s plan—everyone should know who will grab the pet(s), supplies, and where you will meet during an emergency.

Pet Disaster Preparedness Kit

Prepare a disaster kit for your pet(s) with these items. Ask your veterinarian for help putting it together.

Dog Pet Disaster Kit Checklist
Cat Pet Disaster Kit Checklist


  • Photocopied veterinary records
    • Rabies certificate
    • Vaccinations
    • Medical summary
    • Prescriptions for medications
    • Most recent heartworm test result (dogs)
    • Most recent FeLV/FIV test result (cats)
  • Photocopied registration information (ex: proof of ownership or adoption records)
  • Pet description(s) (ex: breed, sex, color, weight)
  • Recent photographs of each of your pets
  • Waterproof container for documents
  • Microchip information (ex: microchip number, name, and number of the microchip company)
  • Your contact information (phone numbers and addresses for your family and friends or relatives you may be staying with)

Pet Boarding Instructions


Extreme Cold

Planning and preparing can help you manage the impact of a winter storm and keep you and your family safe. Major winter storms can last several days, trapping people at home without utilities or other services.

Plan Ahead

  • Winterize your home
  • Winterize your vehicle(s)
  • Gather emergency supplies and have emergency kits ready
  • Stay alert

Winterizing Your Home

  1. Make your home energy efficient
    • Insulate: Insulation decreases the amount of heat entering from outside when it's hot, and traps warmth inside when it's cold. Insulation is rated by its R-value. R-value measures how well building insulation can prevent the flow of heat into and out of the home.
    • Types of Insulation:
      • Loose-fill & blown-in insulation
      • Batt & roll insulation
      • Reflective insulation & radiant barriers
      • Spray foam & foam in-place insulation
  2. Protecting your home
    • Caulk: Caulk is a common material for insulating windows, installed correctly can help save heat. Fill a caulking gun with silicone caulking. Apply caulk between the window frame and siding. Allow caulk to dry and cure overnight to ensure proper sealing.
    • Weather Stripping: Close small gaps between windows by cutting strips according to your window dimensions. Peel the adhesive off the strip and align the rubber down your window frame to cover any gaps.
    • Protecting your pipes: Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, such as outdoor hose bibs, water sprinkler lines, and pipes that run against exterior walls with little to no insulation can freeze and stop water supply to your home. Water has a unique property in which expands and freezes especially in pipes. Leaving pipes with a light trickle will help prevent freezing. Outdoor pipes can also be protected by covering them with foam pool noodles.
  3. Maintain Your Heat Equipment
    • Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements, and your equipment is cleaned and in working order. If using a kerosene heater make sure you have proper ventilation.
  4. Space Heaters
    • Only use electric space heathers with automatic shut-off switches. Keep any flammable materials away from the space heater. Always plus a space heater into the wall and never to a power strip. Never leave your space heater unattended unless it is completely turned off.
  5. Fireplaces
    • Make sure your fireplace is cleaned thoroughly and the dampers are checked. Vacuum and sweep any accumulated ash from the firebox. Ensure firewood is in good condition prior to placing into the fireplace. Ensure that your chimney is inspected annually for proper ventilation. If your fireplace that has a gas line, make sure that the gas is properly turned on and off when using. Always make sure to have a fire extinguisher nearby incase of an emergency.
  6. Smoke Detectors & CO alarms
    • Ensure that working smoke detectors are installed in your home. House fires can be reduced with proper preparation and installment of smoke detectors. CO alarms should also be installed. These alarms are designed to warn you of any unusual build-up of carbon monoxide in your home from a possible leak of CO producing appliances

Winterize Your Vehicle(s)

  1. Wiper Blades: What to look for to determine if you need new wiper blades.
    • Time: Wiper Blades will never last more than 12 months
    • In areas with extreme wind, heat, rain or snow blades last 3-6 months
    • Your blades are smearing, streaking or clicking when wiping the windshield.
    • Your blades have uneven edges and missing pieces.
    • Your blades have visible cracks.
  2. Tires: Inspect or Replace your Tires
    • Check if low air pressure and worn tires
    • Keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle at all times
    • Replaced tires every six years, regardless of use
    • Replace tires that have uneven wear or insufficient tread.
    • Tread should be at least 1/16 of an inch or greater on all tires
  3. Safety Kit: Keep a safety kit in your car all year. Items to include in your winter safety kit include:
    1. Flashlight
    2. Blanket, leather gloves, and hat
    3. Bag of kitty litter or sand
    4. This can help if your tires get stuck in the snow or slush
    5. Ice scraper and brush
    6. Small shovel
    7. Safe and leak-proof container of coolant
    8. Snacks
  4. Driving in Snow/Ice/Sleet:
    • Before
      • Plan ahead in case of road closures or detours
      • Ensure you have your vehicle safety kit in your vehicle
      • Ensure you have a full tank of gas before your trip in case of traffic
      • Ensure your cell phone is charged in case of an emergency.
      • Check the pressure on your tires
    • During
      • Apply gas and breaks slowly to avoid skids
      • Reduce your speed to maintain better control of your car
      • Increase your following distance
      • Do not use cruise control while driving on slippery roads

Emergency Kits

  1. Vehicle Emergency Kit:
    • Cell phone charger
    • Water, snacks
    • Flashlight
    • Boots, gloves, warm clothes
    • First aid kit
    • Blanket
    • Jumper cables
    • Shovel, ice scraper, snow brush
    • Flares
    • Full tank of gas
    • Tow rope
    • Tire chains or snow tires
    • Bag of sand or cat litter
  2. Home Emergency Kit:
    • Water supply for 3 days
    • Medical Supplies
    • Items for snow and Ice
    • Manual can opener
    • Non-perishable foods
    • Sanitation Items
    • Matches
    • Electric Space Heater
    • Flashlight
    • Battery-powered radio
    • Cell phone charger
    • Extra clothing, blankets and sleeping bags
    • Extra batteries and power sources
    • Alternate way to heat your home during a power failure

Stay Alert

Be alert to changing weather conditions in your area with alerts, radio and other news outlets for information and new updates.

  • Have a battery operated or hand crank radio to stay updated with local weather and emergency alerts.
  • Emergency Alert System: Sign up for area-based alerts. The emergency alert system allows you to set up various locations in the El Paso area as your area that might be impacted during emergencies. You can set up your home, work place, children(s) school, and loved one's homes for your alert selection. The emergency alert system notifies you of extreme cold, hail, ice snow, severe weather and other possible emergencies in those areas. You can sign up at for the Emergency Alert System.
  • Ensure your smartphone has Emergency Alerts on. You can ensure they are on by going to Settings > Notifications > Government Alerts.

Local Resources

  • 2-1-1
  • Free helpline which connects people to health and community services
  • Provides information on shelters or points of distribution in the event of an incident or disaster
  • 3-1-1
  • Extreme Weather Task Force
  • Distributes new blankets to eligible elderly, disabled and needy families throughout the El Paso area
  • Call 2-1-1 if you, or someone you know, would like to donate or request a blanket
  • El Paso Fire Department Fire Prevention Division
  • To request a smoke detector, call (915) 485-5699
  • American Red Cross El Paso Area Chapter
  • (915) 592-0208,
  • Provides shelter, food and counseling to disaster victims
  • El Paso Citizen Alert
  • Provides a secure and reliable way of notifying citizens about a city and/or county-wide crisis or disaster
  • Texas Roadside Assistance
    • Call 1 (800) 525-5555 if your vehicle is disable or you are stranded on the side of the road. TxDOT vehicles will be deployed to your reported location to assist you.


Zika virus is spread to people primarily through mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that spread Zika can bite at day and night. Zika virus can also be spread during sex with a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners and from a pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy.

Many people infected with Zika won't have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes).

Zika Basics


The best way to prevent Zika is to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellent. If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply the sunscreen first and then the repellent.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Stay in places with air conditioning or window and door screens.
  • Remove standing water around your home.

Zika Prevention Takes a Community. Do Your Part.
Control Mosquitoes Flyer (English) (Spanish)
Zika - Protection from Mosquitoes (English) (Spanish)
Zika and Septic Tanks Flyer (Bilingual)

Zika & Traveling

Mosquitoes spread many types of viruses and parasites that can cause disease like chikungunya, dengue, Zika, and malaria. If you are traveling to an area with active Zika cases, we encourage you to create a Zika Prevention Kit(ZPK). The products in a ZPK can help protect you from Zika.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women to protect themselves from Zika virus infection. Zika infection during pregnancy causes a birth defect called microcephaly and other brain problems. Follow the links below to access specific information relating to Zika and pregnancy.

Resources for Infants & Children


Informational Slides

Resources for Tribal Health Care


Collection, Testing, & Reporting Forms



Information Document

Additional Resources

MMWR Reports

Resources & Publications for Parents, Teachers, & Other Stakeholders


West Nile Virus

  • West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus that in rare cases can cause high fever, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), paralysis, and even death.
  • Although the majority of people infected with West Nile virus will never get sick or will only develop a mild flu-like illness, a small number of infected people will develop more serious symptoms, which can be life-threatening.
  • West Nile virus first appeared in North America in 1999 and El Paso reported its first case of West Nile virus disease in 2003. Every year people in El Paso are hospitalized with West Nile virus disease.
  • People of any age can be infected with West Nile virus and get sick but people over the age of 50 and people with chronic conditions are at greatest risk of developing serious complications.
  • People cannot be vaccinated against West Nile and options for treatment of the disease are very limited.
  • Preventing mosquito bites by reducing the number of mosquitoes around your home and by covering exposed skin and wearing insect repellant while outdoors are the most effective methods of preventing West Nile.


  • People are infected with West Nile when they are bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus.
  • Not all mosquitoes can pass the West Nile virus to people, only those belonging to the genus Culex.  And of those Culex mosquitoes only a very small proportion are actively carrying the virus at a given time.
  • While humans, horses, and some other mammals can get sick when infected with West Nile, they are not the primary hosts for the virus. The Culex mosquitoes that carry West Nile actually prefer to bite birds. Many infected birds will develop high levels of virus in their blood and can carry the virus long distances. When a mosquito bites an infected bird it can pick up the virus and become infectious. It is this passage of the virus between mosquitoes and birds that is responsible for the long-term transmission of the disease.
  • People are at greatest risk of being bitten by mosquitoes and infected with West Nile virus during the summer and early fall. Taking appropriate measures for preventing mosquito bites is especially important during this time of year.
  • In El Paso it has been shown that living close to irrigation canals increases a person’s risk of getting West Nile virus disease. People living near irrigation canals should take extra care to prevent mosquito bites.
  • In a very small number of cases, West Nile virus has been spread through blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from mother to baby during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. It should be noted, however, that transmission through any of these alternate mechanisms is exceedingly rare. The U.S. blood supply is now screened for West Nile virus.   

Preventing Mosquito Bites & West Nile


fight the bite

See Info Flyer

  • The most effective way to prevent West Nile is to prevent mosquito bites while outside and to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home.
  • Don't stop enjoying outdoor activities! Just learn some simple and effective prevention measures to reduce your risk of getting West Nile.
  • Mosquitoes are most active during dawn and dusk hours. If you know you will be outside during these hours, plan ahead and take appropriate measures to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Try to limit the amount of skin you have exposed while outside by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Use insect repellant whenever you go outside!
  • Repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and para-menthane-diol are known to be effective at deterring mosquitoes.
  • Not all repellants are created equal: Repellants containing a high percentage of DEET are safe, effective, and provide long-lasting protection against mosquitoes.
  • Remember to apply repellant only to exposed skin and to avoid contact with your eyes, mouth, or any open cuts. Apply repellant sparingly around your ears.
  • You can use both sunscreen and insect repellant together. Just make sure to apply sunscreen first and the repellant second.
  • Most insect repellants can be used on children. However, always refer to the label instructions and never let young children apply their own repellant. When using on children, apply repellant to your own hands first and then put it on the child.
  • Reducing the number of areas where mosquitoes eggs and larvae can develop is the first step toward keeping your home and yard mosquito-free.
  • Try to empty standing water from containers such as flowerpots, gutters, pool covers, pet water dishes, birdbaths, or fountains at least once every week.
  • Items that can collect rainwater such as wheelbarrows, flowerpots, buckets, discarded tires, or hubcaps should be turned over or stored inside when not in use to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water.
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your home by installing and maintain window and door screens and by keeping doors closed, especially during dawn and dusk hours.

Got Mosquitoes?

Are you itching for relief from mosquitoes? Contact the Code of Compliance Division of the City of El Paso Environmental Services Department at phone number 3-1-1. The Code of Compliance Division oversees the city’s vector control program, which combats mosquito breeding in El Paso County. The mosquito abatement efforts are intended to reduce the spread of West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne infections.

See what is being done to control mosquitoes in your area