Staying cool when the temperature is near 100 degrees isn’t easy. Especially, if you’re elderly and don’t have conditioning. So as part of the city’s heat emergency plan they open up all city buildings to the public. They’re places where people can go who need to cool off for a while. The health department’s Porfilio Villareal explains:
“The library, also during the week any city facility with air conditioning, but those cooling centers are perfect place because there is Metro available to help out with transportation of people who do have an issue with getting to one of those cooling centers.”
With the mercury hovering at or above 100, most people know to drink lots of water and stay indoors where it’s cool. But Villareal says the city realizes some people aren’t able to do that.
“One of the groups that we’re most concerned about is elderly people, also people with chronic illness, also people under five — those people are very vulnerable to high temperatures. It takes them a long time to recover from being exposed to the heat. But at this point we want everyone to take precaution.”
Elderly resident who need a ride to a cooling center can simply call 311. Due to the high amount of calls they’re getting, they say to call back if the line is busy. While the emergency plan ends at 7 this evening, it could be reinstated next week should the record temperatures stick around. Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News.