With power outages continuing to affect residents across our community, Pinellas County is working with fire departments and other partners to prevent heat-related illnesses, particularly among the elderly.
The county is working with fire departments to assess healthcare facilities and finalize sheltering opportunities for these residents until power is restored. At the same time, the county is asking community recreational centers, churches and libraries to open their facilities as cooling stations during the power outage.
Community organizations that are willing to provide air-conditioned/cooling stations during the heat of the day are asked to call the Citizen Information Center at (727) 464-4333.
The county continues to monitor 911 calls for heat-related emergencies and provide additional assistance as necessary.
Older adults do not adjust as well as young people to sudden changes in temperature. They are also more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat or may take medications that affect the body’s ability to control temperature. It’s important to remember to stay out of the sun and seek shade. Citizens can also apply ice packs or use wet, cool compresses to lower body temperature.
Tips to avoid heat illness from the Centers for Disease Control:
- If a friend or neighbor has power, ask to stay in their air-conditioned home as much as possible, especially in the heat of the day.
- Do not rely on a fan as your main cooling source when it’s really hot outside.
- Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink; if your doctor limits the amount of fluids you drink or has you on water pills, ask them how much you should drink during hot weather.
- Don’t use the stove or oven to cook; it will make your house hotter.
- Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
- Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
- Limit physical activity or exposure to the outdoors, and get plenty of rest.
- Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
All Pinellas County citizens are urged to get updates on Irma recovery efforts by checking local media outlets and the county website (www.pinellascounty.org) and county social media accounts; search hashtag #PinellasIrma.