July 11, 2008

Agencies Urge Safety When Mercury Rises

As temperatures continue to climb toward the 90s and beyond, the Columbia/Boone County Health Department is urging people to allow caution and common sense to dictate how much time they spend outside.

The health department has set up eight cooling centers around town where people can get out of the hot weather and have access to drinking water.

The following places are open to the public as cooling centers during normal business hours:

- Activity & Recreation Center, 1707 W. Ash St.

- Armory Sports and Community Center, 701 E. Ash St.

- Columbia Public Library, 100 W. Broadway

- Columbia Mall, 2300 Bernadette Drive

- Columbia/Boone County Health Department,1005 W. Worley St.

- Oakland Senior Center, 805 Old 63 N.

- Paquin Tower, 1201 Paquin St.

The health department also said the very young and very old are most likely to be affected by the heat and should be most cautious. Additionally, people on medications including anti-psychotic, major tranquilizers, antihistamines, over-the-counter sleeping pills, antidepressants and cardiac drugs might be more sensitive to heat.

The department offers two utility assistance programs for qualified Boone County residents. HELP - Heat Energy and Light Program - provides one-time emergency assistance to low-income families with young children in the home. CASH - Citizens Assisting Seniors and Handicapped - also provides emergency assistance to low- income seniors and people with disabilities. Information about these programs is available at www.gocolumbiamo.com

Also, the Voluntary Action Center is assisting low-income households with its Summer Fan Program. Electric fans are distributed to households with infants, young children, pregnant moms or elderly or disabled residents.

People who meet the criteria and need a fan can call 874-2273 or come by the VAC office at 800 N. Providence Road.

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