Heat Advisory: Chester County warns residents of excessive heat

The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning in effect from noon on Monday, July 15, through 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 17.  The Chester County Health Department and the Chester County Department of Emergency Services remind residents that extreme heat can pose a challenge to the body’s temperature control system.  If the body does not cool properly, there is potential for heat-related illness, which can take different forms, ranging from general fatigue to muscular cramping to life-threatening heat stroke.

The Chester County Office of Aging Services announces that fans are available for County residents age 60 and older, who qualify, to help cope with the excessive heat.  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 for 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.

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, July 19.

·        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.

·        Good Samaritan Shelter in Phoenixville will keep the shelter open all day for current residents.

·        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 steps:

·        Drink plenty of non-alcoholic, caffeine-free beverages. Water is the best choice. It is important to drink fluids regardless of thirst, because you can become dehydrated without being thirsty.

·        Wear light colored and loose fitting cotton clothing.

·        Stay in air-conditioning as much as possible. If your home is not air-conditioned, go to an air- conditioned place such as the mall, a movie theater, or the library.

·        When using a fan, it is extremely important to have a window or door open to provide your living space with airflow.  Failure to have airflow will result in the fan circulating the existing hot air, increasing the temperature.

·        Check regularly on elderly or home-bound friends and relatives.

·        Eliminate strenuous activity such as running, biking and lawn care work when it is hot.

·        Eat small meals and eat more often.

·        If you must be outdoors, stay out of direct sunlight and seek shade; wear a wide-brimmed hat or use an umbrella to create your own shade.

·        If you must be outdoors, use a sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15 or higher.

·        Ask your physician if you are at particular risk because of any medical condition you have or medication you are taking.

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.

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