June 19, 2014

Cooling Centers Provide Relief from Summer Heat - June 22-28 is Missouri Summer Weather Safety Week

JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service are promoting Missouri Summer Safety Week (June 22-28) to highlight the risks and dangers associated with excessive heat. Missourians can find a public cooling center near them by visiting MO.gov. Through the online cooling center directory at MO.gov, users can simply enter a zip code, city or county to find a cooling center nearby.

"Excessive heat and humidity can cause health problems, particularly for the elderly and people with pre-existing health issues," said Gail Vasterling, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "Summer Weather Safety Week is an opportunity to review the precautions we should be taking during periods of high temperatures, not only for ourselves, but for those who are particularly vulnerable to the heat."

In 2013, the Department of Health and Senior Services reported 14 heat-related deaths in Missouri.

Remember these basic tips to protect you and your family during severe heat and heat emergencies:

  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.
  • Eat light, well-balanced meals at regular intervals.
  • Drink plenty of water and limit intake of alcoholic beverages.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Protect your face and head by wearing a wide-brimmed hat. Wear sunscreen.
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day; use the buddy system when working in extreme heat and take frequent breaks.
  • If you do not have air conditioning, consider spending the warmest part of the day in public buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls and other community facilities.
  • Be aware of medications that may impair the body's response to heat, including antihistamines, tranquilizers and some medications for heart disease.

The National Weather Service has additional information on staying safe during excessive heat, as well as lightning safety at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/?n=summerweathersafetyweek.

To find the cooling center nearest you, please visit MO.gov.