Shelters will double as cooling stations, transportation for seniors will increase
In response to the excessive heat warning issued Monday by the National Weather Service – in effect through 8 p.m. on Wednesday – the Chester County Health Department and the Chester County Department of Emergency Services want to remind residents to take precautions.
Extreme heat can challenge the body’s temperature-control system, a county news release said. If the body does not cool properly, heat-related illness, which can take different forms, may occur, ranging from general fatigue to muscle cramping to life-threatening heat stroke.
The Chester County Office of Aging Services announces that fans are available for qualified county residents aged 60 and older. If a fan is needed because no other means of cooling a living area is available, call 610-344-6350.
The Office of Aging Services urges seniors who do not have air-conditioning or other means of keeping cool to visit their local library, movie theater or shopping mall. To help facilitate this, Rover Community Transportation will provide additional transportation services for individuals age 65 or over. To contact Rover transportation dispatch, call 484-696-3854 (after 5:30 p.m., press 3 to be connected to dispatch). The Office of Aging Services’ recorded hotline for heat emergencies is 610-344-4141.
Department staff is also calling seniors to ensure they have access to places where they can remain cool, and staff members continue to coordinate with senior centers throughout the county to determine options for extended opening hours. Contact details for Chester County Senior Centers, as well as information on extreme heat precautions, can be found on www.chesco.org.
The Chester County Department of Community Development announces extended opening hours of area shelters during this week’s heat wave: Safe Harbor in West Chester will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. as a cooling station until Friday; The Salvation Army (not a Shelter) in West Chester will be open until 6 p.m. as a cooling station, and will provide water to anyone that comes in until 6 p.m., all week; Community, Youth, and Women’s Alliance (CYWA) in Coatesville will allow residents to stay inside during the day, and will act as a cooling station for anyone else in the community all week (excluding those who are banned from the premises).
To avoid heat-related illness, the Chester County Health Department recommends the following:
Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free beverages, whether or not you are thirsty; water is the best choice. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting cotton clothing. Stay in air-conditioning as much as possible. When using a fan, keep a window or door open to provide airflow and to circulating the existing hot air, which can increase the temperature. Check regularly on elderly or homebound friends and relatives. Eliminate strenuous activity such as running or lawn care work. Eat small meals and eat more often If you must be outdoors, stay out of direct sunlight; wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella to create your own shade and use a sunscreen with a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Ask your physician if you are at particular risk because of any medical condition you have or medication you are taking.
In addition, never leave a child or animal unattended in a car, even with the windows down. Make a habit of looking inside the vehicle before walking away. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reminds parents that even cool temperatures in the 60s can cause the temperature to rise well above 110 degrees inside your car.