Summer: Easy Access to a Safe, Cool facility
The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services ensures that everyone in need has easy access to a safe, cool facility. Residents in need of relief from the heat during extreme weather can visit any of the City’s six Cooling Centers, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Over the weekend, libraries, park facilities and police stations also serve as Cooling Centers. Residents in need of additional information or transportation to a Cooling Center may call the City’s non-emergency help line, 311.
Chicago Cooling Centers
North Area Center
4740 North Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, IL 60640 map
Trina Davila Center
4345-47 West Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60639 map
10 S. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60612 map
4314 South Cottage Grove Ave.
Chicago, IL 60653 map
845 W. 69th St.
Chicago, IL 60621 map
South Chicago Center
8759 S. Commercial Ave.
Chicago, IL 60617 map
As always, Chicagoans are urged to check in on family members, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly and people with disabilities and/or chronic illness. Those unable to make contact with an individual can call 311 to request a well-being check. The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services will send an outreach team to their home and arrange for any assistance that is required.
As the sweltering summer heat sweeps the nation, the American Red Cross reminds everyone to take precautions against heat related incidents. So many simple measures can be taken to significantly reduce the chance of getting heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The Red Cross encourages drinking plenty of water and taking frequent breaks while working outside. Staying inside and avoiding strenuous activity is also recommended.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 400 Americans die each year due to summer’s sweltering heat. Furthermore, the National Weather Service asserts that excessive heat was the number one weather-related killer, causing more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, winter storms and extreme cold from 1994 to 2003.
Everyone is at risk when temperatures rise above 90 degrees but the elderly and the very young are most susceptible to heat and heat-related illnesses. Heat-related illnesses can cause serious injury and even death if unattended. Signs of heat-related illnesses include nausea, dizziness, flushed or pale skin, heavy sweating and headaches. Victims of heat-related illness should be moved to a cool place, given cool water to drink and ice packs or cool wet cloths should be applied to the skin. If a victim refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately.
Red Cross Heat Safety Tips:
- Dress for the heat. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun’s energy. It is also a good idea to wear hats or to use an umbrella.
- Drink water. Carry water or juice with you and drink continuously even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrate the body. Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
- Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid high-protein foods, which increase metabolic heat.
- Slow down. Avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4 and 7 a.m.
- Stay indoors when possible. If air-conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine. Remember that electric fans do not cool, they simply circulate the air.
- Be a good neighbor. During heat waves, check in on elderly residents in your neighborhood and those who do not have air conditioning.
- Learn Red Cross first aid and CPR.
Know What These Heat-Related Terms Mean:
- Heat cramps: Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms due to heavy exertion. Although heat cramps are the least severe, they are an early signal that the body is having trouble with the heat.
- Heat exhaustion: Heat exhaustion typically occurs when people exercise heavily or work in a hot, humid place where body fluids are lost through heavy sweating. Blood flow to the skin increases, causing blood flow to decrease to the vital organs. This results in a form of mild shock. If not treated, the victim may suffer heat stroke. Signals of heat exhaustion include cool, moist, pale flushed or red skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; and exhaustion. Body temperature will be near normal.
- Heat stroke: Also known as sunstroke, heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red and dry skin; changes in consciousness; rapid, weak pulse; and rapid, shallow breathing. Body temperature can be very high—sometimes as high as 105 degrees.
General Care for Heat Emergencies:
- Heat cramps or heat exhaustion: Get the person to a cooler place and have him or her rest in a comfortable position. If the person is fully awake and alert, give half a glass of cool water every 15 minutes. Do not let him or her drink too quickly. Do not give liquids that contain alcohol or caffeine. Remove or loosen tight clothing and apply cool, wet cloths, such as towels or sheets. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number if the person refuses water, vomits or loses consciousness.
- Heat stroke: Heat stroke is a life-threatening situation! Help is needed fast. Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body. Immerse victim in a cool bath, or wrap wet sheets around the body and fan it. Watch for signals of breathing problems. Keep the person lying down and continue to cool the body any way you can. If the victim refuses water or is vomiting or there are changes in the level of consciousness, do not give anything to eat or drink.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.