With triple-digit temperatures in the horizon, it's important to stay cool to prevent heat-related illnesses. (WRDW-TV / June 26, 2012)
News 12 This Morning / Tuesday, June 26, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Temperatures are expected to climb into the triple digits this week and the scorching heat isn't expected to go anywhere. That's why Columbia County is opening up their cooling centers to provide some relief.
Buckets of ice, cold water and central air conditioning are all available at the Bessie Thomas Community Center in Grovetown. It's the place to escape to during the hottest part of the day.
The senior citizen center doubles as a cooling center all summer long.
Angela Stone, who moved to Georgia from New York City, visits the center at least four times a week. Just thinking about the triple digits makes her uncomfortable.
"Uh ... hottest day ... whew," she said.
Pam Tucker with Columbia County EMA says, "If they just feel like they don't have anywhere to go and just want to sit, cooling centers are ideal for that."
It becomes a necessity for homeowners struggling to keep their bills down.
"A lot of people are leaving the thermostat very high or if their air conditioning unit breaks down, they don't have the money to repair it," Tucker said.
Columbia County has seven cooling centers strategically placed for easy access no matter where you live in the county. If you don't have transportation, some centers will pick you up by bus if you call ahead.
"July and August are the big months," Tucker said. "Whenever you have those consecutive days with heat indexes of 105 or greater, that's the danger zone."
Even short periods of high temperatures can cause hot weather health emergencies like a heat stroke, where your body becomes incapable of regulating its temperature, and that can cause death.
"Especially our senior citizens who are vulnerable, their systems kind of lose their ability to cool themselves as they get older," Tucker said.
So take extra precautions around seniors and the youngest family members. If you need transportation, you can call (706) 556-0807 to find out about the bus service that is available.