Sometimes having a hot time isn’t cool at all.
As a five-day heat wave with temperatures expected to surpass 100 degrees daily descended on the Northern San Joaquin Valley Monday the City of Manteca opened an emergency cooling center.
Volunteers with the Community Emergency Response Team as well as SAFE — Seniors Assisting Fire Effort — were pressed into service Monday to convert the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane, into an emergency cooling center from 2 to 9 p.m.
Fire Chief Kirk Waters indicated the cooling center is likely to be open today from 2 to 9 p.m. as well if the 100-degree plus forecast holds. The status of the cooling center being operational is on a day-to-day basis based on National Weather Service updates. The cooling center hotline to access information about whether it will be open is 209.456.8080.
The cooling center is designed for those who need shelter from the heat.
Volunteers and alert residents have been credited over the years for saving lives during heat waves ibn Manteca.’
Shortly after CERT was formed they assisted in a door-to-door welfare check in mobile home parks and other concentrations of elderly when Manteca had four back-to-back days of 106-degree plus heat. At one mobile home park they found a woman in the early stages of heat stroke and were able to summon emergency personnel. Several years ago various individuals noticed a person in a wheelchair on Main Street that seemed not to have moved for a number of minutes. A Good Samarian stopped to make sure everything OK and discovered the elderly person was struggling with the heat.
City officials ask people to keep an eye on others and steer them to the cooling enter if they lack air conditioning or other means to stay cool as the temperatures rise
No animals are allowed at the cooling center with the exception of service animals. Also prohibited are tobacco products and e-cigarettes, alcohol and no personal property with the exception of a backpack.
Spending a few hours in an air-conditioned environment can bring down the body’s core temperature. Older or frail adults, homeless people, and persons with health conditions should consider spending time in a cooling center particularly between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. when temperatures are at their highest.
Those who need to venture outdoors in the sun, however, are advised to wear sunscreen and a hat to protect the face and head, as well as lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
Residents are also urged to drink fluids, especially water, even if they do not feel thirsty. Beverages containing alcohol or caffeine should be avoided.
Locals should avoid strenuous activity, particularly during the sun’s peak hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cool down with repeated cool baths or showers.
Children, seniors or pets should never be left in parked cars during periods of intense summer heat and residents are encouraged to make an additional effort to check on neighbors, especially seniors and those with special needs.
The City of Manteca and San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services also emphasize the need for all residents to be able to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illness, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Although body temperature will appear normal, those experiencing heat exhaustion will exhibit a number of symptoms, including heavy sweating, weakness, headache, weak pulse, dizziness, exhaustion, fainting, nausea or vomiting, and cold, clammy skin.
The American Red Cross advises individuals who encounter a victim who is experiencing heat exhaustion to get them out of the heat and into a cooler place. The individual should then remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths.
If the victim is conscious, then they should be given a half glass of cool water to drink every 15 minutes. The victim should rest in a comfortable position and the individual who is overseeing the victim should watch carefully for changes in his or her condition.
Heat stroke symptoms include flushed, hot, dry skin, weak or rapid pulse, shallow breathing, and lack of sweating, throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion and unconsciousness. Body temperature will be elevated and the victim should receive immediate medical attention as heat stroke is a life threatening condition.
After calling 911 or a local emergency number, the American Red Cross advises individuals to move the victim to a cooler place and to quickly cool the body by immersing the victim in a cool bath or by wrapping the victim in wet sheets while fanning him or her.
Individuals should watch carefully for breathing problems and keep the victim lying down while continuing to keep them cool. If the victim refuses water, is vomiting or if there are changes in level of consciousness, individuals should not give anything to eat or drink.