Record-Breaking Heat Scorches Northeast Oklahoma

Tuesday, August 3rd 2010, 9:04 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The sweltering temperatures are taking a toll on Tulsa's less fortunate.  With highs remaining in the triple digits throughout the rest of this week and into next week, the situation is not expected to improve anytime soon.

EMSA took six more people to Tulsa hospitals on Tuesday with heat-related illness. And with the heat advisory in effect until Thursday night, there is little relief in sight.

8/3/10 Related Story: Dangerous Heat Settles Over NE Oklahoma

The Tulsa Weather Coalition has been installing loaner air conditioners since June. But as temperatures continue to soar, the demand long ago exceeded the supply.

"Anyone that doesn't have an air conditioner right now needs an air conditioner," said Donnie House, Community Service Council. "But there's a limited number of air conditioners, so we're trying to prioritize those needs."

The coalition is reserving its remaining units for low-income individuals, the disabled and those with serious health issues.

"We're trying to use whatever means we can to meet critical needs and meet those needs," House said.

The Tulsa Day Center For the Homeless is trying to meet the needs of those who have nowhere to go to beat the heat. The center has yet to see a serious spike in its numbers, but its director says people often make the mistake of thinking they can handle the sweltering temperatures.

"The heat can really surprise you and sneak up on you. Just like anyone else," Mack Haltom, Day Center for the Homeless, said. "But especially if you mix it with alcohol it can really be dangerous."

Those who don't take proper precautions have been ending up in the emergency room. Dr. David Gearhart says he's seeing three or four people suffering from heat-related illness every shift.

It's a trend he expects will continue throughout the week.

"We're seeing quite a few more folks. The ambulances bring them in quite regularly," Dr. Gearhart said.

Cooling stations remain open at the Salvation Army Center on Denver, the Tulsa County Social Services building on Charles Page, and the Dennis Neill Equality Center on Fourth Street.

EMSA reminders:

• Wear Light colored loose fitting clothing

• Take plenty of breaks when out in the heat if you must be out

• Consume plenty of non-alcoholic/non-caffeinated fluids (water, Gatorade)

• Stay in air-conditioned areas when possible (libraries, malls, movie theaters)

• Check on your elderly neighbors as you would in the cold weather months

• Do not leave children or pets in the car unattended even for a minute