Community invited to stay cool in extreme heat

Published 1:57 am Monday, July 25, 2016


The Salvation Army is providing the community a safe haven during the forecasted extreme heat over the next several weeks.

The organization opened a cooling station Saturday, giving residents a place to stay cool. Saturday, the heat index was 101 degrees in Washington, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The stations are open to the public on days where the heat index is 100 degrees or higher, according to Captain Goldie Rabon, a pastor and corps officer with the Salvation Army.

Hot and humid conditions are forecasted Saturday through Monday, with heat index values approaching or exceeding 100 degrees each day, according to Rabon.

According to the NWS, a heat advisory was in effect from 1-8 p.m. on Saturday, as well as Sunday.

“The Salvation Army is committed to serving the needs of the community 365 days a year,” Rabon said. “During the summer months, we will provide comfort in the form of shade and water to those who would like to step inside from the heat. The primary concern of the Salvation Army is the health and safety of our local citizens. We will continually assess the weather on a daily basis.”

Rabon said the cooling station is meant to keep people, who are homeless or unable to afford to use electricity, cool. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are two of the most common heat-related illnesses. Residents, especially seniors, are strongly advised to take advantage of the station, if needed. The nonprofit will extend the period in which it has the cooling station open, depending on the weather forecast, according to Rabon.

Signs of heat exhaustion include pale, moist skin, heavy sweating and nausea. Symptoms of heat stroke include hot, red skin, changes in consciousness, shallow breathing and high body temperatures. If someone is experiencing heat exhaustion, they should seek a cooler place, loosen tight clothing and drink cool water every 15 minutes. Anyone who may be suffering from heat stroke is advised to call 911, according to Rabon.

According to Rabon, some proactive measures residents can take in the forecasted heat include: staying cool; drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration; checking on neighbors and relatives; staying out of the sun as much as possible, especially during the afternoon hours when the heat is at its highest; monitoring the NWS radio and local media to be aware of heat advisories and warnings as they occur; and planning now what steps to take for long periods of heat.

The cooling station is open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army is located at 112 E. Seventh St. in Washington. For more information, call