MORE cooling centers setup in Tulsa, as Phase 3 of heat alert issued

Tuesday, July 24th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa emergency officials say the threat of such heat related dangers is rising, so they've stepped up efforts to protect citizens. The Tulsa Heat Coalition, made up of emergency and social service agencies, activated Phase 3 of its Heat Emergency Action Plan Tuesday.

KOTV’s Glenda Silvey says Phase 3 of the plan sets up three cooling stations at social service agencies where the public can receive shelter and water if needed. Emergency officials say the threat of heat danger is rising, so it's time to take stronger precautions. "You can't beat this heat; this heat is going to beat you. This is very serious."

Tulsa's Heat Coalition is concerned that too many citizens aren't taking the threat of heat danger seriously. They called a news conference to activate the next level of the city's heat emergency plan, saying EMSA has responded to 58 medical heat crises so far this month. Chris Metcalf with EMSA: “We're seeing people in their homes without proper air conditioning or ventilation; we're seeing people that are outside working."

Officials say it's particularly important to check on the elderly, who're at extremely high risk, as well as children at play. Capt. Hubert Rouse with the Tulsa Fire Dept: "Sometimes they'll come running in, and their face will be flustered and red - most likely they're probably getting overheated so that's probably the time to get them to sit down, cool down a little bit, get something to drink."

Medical authorities reiterate the need for extra precautions: avoid exercise in peak hours, drink water before, during and after outdoor activity, wear lighter clothing and take frequent breaks. The first signs of trouble: headache, dizziness and nausea, followed by muscle cramps. In cases of extreme overheating, act fast. "Application of ice packs, not massive inducing of liquids, just sipping, but of course if you have any questions at all about someone in heat incident, call 911." Emergency officials say it's a time to watch out for each other, taking care to get help at the first signs of heat stress.

Emergency officials say if you're concerned that elderly or sick friends or relatives may be in danger and you're unable to check on them, police and fire will go on what's called a "well being check" when possible. Call 911 to request that.

Also, the Weather Coalition is once again providing air conditioners to the ill or elderly who can't afford them. To request an air conditioner, donate money or volunteer to help install equipment, call 834-2665.

The Tulsa Heat Coalition has also set up three cooling stations to help. Here's where you can find them. One is located at Tulsa County Social Services at 2401 Charles Page Boulevard. It's open 24 hours a day. Another cooling station is located at the Day Center for the Homeless at 415 West Archer. The downtown Salvation Army has one too, at its offices at 102 North Denver.

If you need a ride, the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority will pick you up at their bus stops and take you to these cooling stations for free if you need a ride.