Fewer Cooling Centers Open In Tulsa, Raising Heat Concerns

Tuesday, June 23rd 2020, 9:28 pm
By: Erick Payne

TULSA, Okla. -

Tulsans in need of cooling centers this summer are going to have a little more trouble staying cool, as there are now fewer centers open.

There are normally a handful of designated places to go to if you need to cool down, but due to COVID-19, there are only a couple of cooling centers open.

For people looking to catch a break from the sun and hydrate. there are only two options this summer. Those are the Tulsa County Social Services building on Charles Page, and John 3:16 Mission off Denver Avenue.

The Salvation Army and The Equality Center asked to be removed from the cooling center list because of COVID-19 concerns.

"It's really tough on the people of the streets. It's really hard on them, especially during the summer months," Director of Men's Ministries for John 3:16 Mission James Hudgins said.

James Hudgins is the Director of Men's Ministries for John 3:16 Mission. He says they have a water machine inside the lobby, so people can come in and get a drink.

They also have water outside, next to a hand-washing station, and they're practicing social distancing by spreading people out and letting fewer people inside.

"Just trying to do our best during the pandemic to make sure all the people we're trying to serve are safe," Hudgins said.

EMSA says they've had 91 heat-related illness calls so far this year, and 44 people have had to be taken to the hospital because of their symptoms.

Tulsa Area Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Joseph Kralicek says the beginning of summer is more dangerous for heat-related calls because people haven't adjusted to the heat yet.

"We actually tend to have more heat related calls in June and early July than we do in late August, just because by the time August rolls around everybody realizes it's hot and they know their limits," Kralicek said.

If you'd like to open your building as a cooling center, contact the healthcare coalition and they'll walk you through the process: 918-582-WELL (9355).