July 21, 2008

Metro-East Cooling Centers Open During Heat Advisory

By Belleville News-Democrat, Ill.

Jul. 21--Cooling sites are open around the region to help people cool off during today's heat advisory.

Highs will top out in the upper 90s and the afternoon heat index is expected to reach near 105 degrees.

A heat advisory is issued when high temperature and humidity levels are expected to make it feel like it is 105 degrees or hotter. People in the advisory area are advised to avoid prolonged work in the sun or in poorly ventilated areas. Keep plenty of liquids on hand and try to stay in an air conditioned environment.

"Go over to your elderly neighbor's house and check on them, go in to their house and check on them because some of them won't turn on their air conditioning," said United Way spokeswoman Carrie Zukoski. "Bring them over to your house, especially in the afternoon because it's hot."

Senior citizens worried about not being able to pay the electric bill if they turn on the air conditioner or those without air conditioning are invited to cool off at several local cooling centers. Senior citizens can inquire about electric bill assistance by calling (800) 427-4626.

Relief from the heat is available today at the following locations:

The Salvation Army at 3007 East 23rd St. in Granite City will be open from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Identification is required.

Chouteau Township Hall at 906 Thorngate Drive in Granite City will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m..

The Wood River Roundhouse at 633 Wood River Ave. in Wood River will be open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Wood River Fire Station at 501 Edwardsville Road in Wood River is a designated cooling center. Call 259-0984 for hours.

The Clyde Jordan Senior Citizens Center at 6755 State St. in East St. Louis is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House at 1200 N. 13th St. in East St. Louis is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Salvation Army at 616 N. 16th St. in East St. Louis is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Salvation Army at 20 Glory Place in Belleville is open from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The Collinsville Senior Citizens center at 420 E. Main St. in Collinsville is open to senior citizens only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Faith Countryside Homes at 1331 26th St. in Highland is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The St. Jacob Township Community Center at 108 W. 2nd St. in St. Jacob is open as a cooling center. Call 644-3541 for hours.

The Tri-Township Park District Community Center at 410 Wickliffe in Troy is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Operation Weather Survival, a coalition of local government, faith-based and charitable organizations, have offered a few tips to stay cool and healthy during a heat wave:

Stay cool -- Stay out of the direct sun and heat. Spend as many hours as possible in a cool place. Minimize physical activity. Take cool baths or showers; use cool towels. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing.

Drink plenty of water/natural juices -- Cool drinks help to replenish fluid losses due to increased perspiration in high temperature. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluids every day. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they cause your body to lose more water. Keep a few bottles of water in your freezer -- if the power goes out, move them to your refrigerator and keep the doors shut.

Eat regularly -- Prepare easy, cool, light items. Fresh vegetable salads, tuna and meat salads, fresh fruit mixtures, whole grain products and cheeses can all contribute to cool nutritious summer meals. Hot soups and casseroles and other products served hot can make you warmer at meal-time. Avoid using ovens. Avoid using salt tablets -- unless directed to do so by a physician.

Develop a buddy system with family, friends, or neighbors -- Develop a personal support network of people who will check in with you at least twice a day throughout warm weather periods, and plan how you will help each other in an emergency. Watch for signs of heat stroke and/or heat exhaustion. Call for help when needed.

Plan ahead -- Ask your doctor about any prescription medicine you keep refrigerated (most medicine will be fine to leave in a closed refrigerator for at least 3 hours). Make plans for any animals and pets. Keep a battery-operated radio on hand to hear news reports and a flashlight handy for lighting. Remember extra batteries. Do not use candles due to fire hazards. Cordless phones may not operate during power outages so keep a corded phone handy or plugged in to another jack.

Keep cool -- Close your curtains and windows in the morning to keep the sun and heat out of your home. Open windows and doors at night to cool inside temperatures. Keep electric lights off or turned down. If you don't have air conditioning leave your home and go to a cool safe place, senior centers, shopping malls, etc. are options.

Call 911 if you or anyone you know needs medical attention.


To see more of the Belleville News-Democrat, Ill., or to subscribe, visit http://www.belleville.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, Belleville News-Democrat, Ill.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.