Cooling Center opens

Published 7:26 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Due to the excessive heat expected today and for the rest of the week, Mayor Michael McCauslin this morning issued a request to ensure that the Niles Cooling Center is open and available for all residents who may need a location to escape from the high temperatures.
Weather is predicted to climb into the 90s, with the heat index factor expected to rise near 100.
The Niles Cooling Center is located within the City Council Chambers at the Niles Fire Station at 1345 E. Main St.
The location will provide a place for seniors, children accompanied by adults and others to escape from the excessive heat.
Fire Chief Larry Lamb has confirmed that the hours of operation for the Cooling Center will be from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. He also said bottled water will be available to those in the Cooling Center to help avoid dehydration.
High heat and humidity can often cause problems, including heat stroke, dehydration or other serious medical problems, and with temperatures like this, it's not uncommon to hear about a number of different heat-related illnesses.
However, this year seems to be a very calm one, Dr. Michael Westfall, Assistant Medical Director of Emergency Service at Lakeland Community Hospital, said.
"It's really kind of surprising to see. I haven't taken care of much of anything, which means people seem to be really taking care of themselves," he said.
Westfall added that more people seem to be aware of the dangers of heat problems and are taking extra precautions to stay safe.
"There's really not much to it and I think people are more educated on their health and know what to do and what not to do," he said.
Westfall said taking care of yourself during hot times is pretty simple.
"Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, keep fans going at all times to circulate air through the home if you don't have an air conditioner, remain well rested, eat right and save all of the yard work or strenuous activities for the evening when it's cooler. That's really it," he said.
The Southwest Michigan Community Ambulance Service (SMCAS) and the Law Enforcement Complex in Niles have been alerted that the Cooling Center is now open. Both SMCAS and law enforcement officers are routinely on the lookout for seniors and others who may require assistance during extremely hot or extremely cold temperatures.