NEW BEDFORD — The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for all of Southern New England, including New Bedford, through 8 p.m., Friday. Heat Index values of up to 99 degrees are expected in the city, and the advisory is likely to extend into the weekend.

In response to the extreme weather, city officials are advising residents to use the New Bedford’s air-conditioned public libraries as cooling centers. In addition to air conditioning, all library locations have staff on hand to assist residents. Residents should check the city website for the operating hours of specific library branches

The city is extending the hours of the Main Library at 613 Pleasant St., and the Wilks Branch Library at 1911 Acushnet Ave. Both locations will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.  on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5-6.  Both locations will also be open from noon to 6 p.m., on Sunday.

In anticipation of large crowds at municipal beaches, the city has extended lifeguard coverage at East and West Beach. Lifeguards will be on duty until 7 p.m. each evening, through Sunday, Aug. 7.

Mayor Jon Mitchell urged residents to take sensible steps to help keep their family and friends safe, saying: “One of New Bedford’s strengths is our sense of community, so I encourage everyone over the next several days to stay vigilant and check on elderly neighbors, children, and those with health conditions that could put them at risk. A phone call or a visit could really make the difference for someone you care about. Please use common sense and take heat-related emergencies seriously.”

Safety tips during times of extreme heat

The city encourages residents to follow the heat-related safety tips and pet-related tips available on the city’s website.

The National Weather Service offers the following advice during periods of extreme heat: Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency.  Call 911.