Efforts Underway To Keep Tulsans Cool

Friday, June 26th 2009, 12:22 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Four days of 100-plus degree temperatures have people all around Tulsa looking for ways to stay cool.  But, some of the most vulnerable residents do not have air conditioning and are forced to fight the heat.

It's been a busy couple of weeks for the Tulsa Weather Coalition.  Employees and volunteers have been installing an average of three air conditioners a day.

"It's a very, very rewarding job," said Doug Griesenauer with the Tulsa Weather Coalition.

One unit went to the home of Carroll Martin's 76-year-old aunt.

"It got so hot she couldn't breathe so she had to go over to urgent care," said Tulsan Carroll Martin.

The family turned to the weather coalition for help.  It loans window units to Tulsa-area residents who meet certain conditions, including people who are on public assistance and who can't get to a cool place during the day.

"But, we're really trying to do a healthy prevention for some seriously ill people," said Jim Lyall with the Community Service Council.

The coalition is facing a problem as the temperatures climb into triple digits because it's running out of air conditioners.  They've already installed 150 units and are still getting close to 85 calls a day for help and they have only 200 units left in storage.

"We are not desperate, but we do have feelings of urgency because we know that we're at the beginning of summer, in our mind, not at the end," said Jim Lyall with the Community Service Council.

Carroll Martin says without the help, her aunt would have been in serious trouble, she hopes generous Tulsans reach out to help their neighbors.     

"Yes, everybody needs to donate, have your churches to help if there's a possibility," said Tulsan Carroll Martin.

To donate new air conditioners or money to help purchase units, you can call 211 or 918-834-2665 or visit 16 E. 16th Street, Tulsa.

Also, The Tulsa Heat Coalition has opened a pair of cooling stations near downtown Tulsa.

During a meeting of the coalition Friday morning, officials announced a cooling station has been set up at the Salvation Army's Center of Hope.   The Center of Hope is located at 102 North Denver.

A second cooling station has also opened at the Tulsa County Social Services offices at 2401 Charles Page Blvd. 

Both stations are open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sweltering temperatures are expected for Tulsa through Saturday.

EMSA offers the following tips for dealing with the high temperatures.

  • Reduce outdoor activity, particularly during the late morning and afternoon hours.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption, and up your water intake.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Spend as much time as possible in an air-conditioned environment; visit a library, indoor shopping mall, community center or other such venue if you don't have air-conditioning at home.
  • Play close attention to those at increased risk for heat-related illness, including young children (under age 4), senior citizens, people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease or high blood pressure, and outdoor laborers.
  • Never, ever leave a child unattended in a vehicle.

Newson6.com's Extreme Heat & You