Chicago Opens More Cooling Centers As Heat Persists

Andy Dahn
July 07, 2020 - 6:45 pm

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- As temperatures continue to rise, city officials are doing what they can to keep residents cool, while also reminding them to look out for one another.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, along with city officials announced Tuesday additional resources for residents to find relief from extreme heat this week.

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Beginning Tuesday through Friday, July 10, residents will have access to cooling centers, cooling buses, Chicago Park District splash pads and more to get relief from high temperatures and humidity that can pose as a health and safety threat. Residents can find a list of all cooling resources available this week here or by calling 311.

“Every resident deserves safe shelter from the summer heat. Through this coordinated, collaborative and comprehensive citywide response, our departments and agencies are working around the clock this week to ensure that resources are readily accessible for every Chicagoan,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Our city services are only as strong as the residents of this city, which why we need everyone to do their part and look out for each other. If any resident is in need of help or knows someone who needs relief from the extreme heat, please don’t think twice about calling 311.”

OEMC is working closely with the National Weather Service in Chicago to monitor weather conditions. To receive the latest updates on weather conditions and emergencies, residents can register for the City’s Emergency Alert System at NotifyChicago.org. An extreme heat warning will be issued by the National Weather Service when the heat index is expected to exceed 105°-110°F for at least two consecutive days.

Rich Guidice, executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said right now being proactive is the name of the game.

“Although an extreme heat warning has not been issued by the National Weather Service at this time, OEMC is dedicated to keeping Chicagoans safe from the dangerous heat conditions and reminds everyone to stay hydrated and seek shade when possible,” said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. “As always, we will continue to monitor weather conditions, and provide alerts concerning this week’s high temperatures as they become available.”

He said the city just wants to get the message out as early as they can.

The city is opening six cooling centers through Friday, as well as several senior centers for cooling purposes. The following will be open through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

  • Englewood Center – 1140 W. 79th Street
  • Garfield Center – 10 S. Kedzie Ave.
  • King Center – 4314 S. Cottage Grove
  • North Area Center – 845 W. Wilson Ave.
  • South Chicago Center – 8650 S. Commercial Ave.
  • Trina Davila Center – 4312 W. North Ave.

Guidice said it’s also important to think about your neighbors.

“I think people are focused on a lot of different things these days. We certainly don’t want to forget our residents that need the most attention, especially during hot weather,” he said.

DFSS is also activating its six Regional Senior Centers as cooling areas for seniors to find relief from heat. The Renaissance Court Senior Regional Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. while the remaining senior regional centers are open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Friday.

  • Central West Center – 2102 W. Ogden Avenue
  • Northeast (Levy) Senior Center – 2019 W. Lawrence Avenue
  • Northwest (Copernicus) Senior Center – 3160 N. Milwaukee Avenue
  • Renaissance Court – 78 E. Washington Street
  • Southeast (Atlas) Senior Center – 1767 E. 79th Street
  • Southwest Center – 6117 S. Kedzie Avenue

The City of Chicago’s heat plan includes new measures to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic, while also ensuring every resident can safely cool off. Per public health guidance, DFSS has implemented deep cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and reconfigured cooling areas to accommodate physical distancing that enables visitors to stay at least six feet apart. Other protocols include wearing a face covering.

“Everything is being cleaned and disinfected. That’s part of doing business these days,” Guidice said.

Residents can also find relief in any of the city’s more than 75 Chicago Public Library locations and more than 30 Chicago Park District fieldhouses.

In addition to the cooling centers and senior centers listed above, the city will expand citywide cooling resources by utilizing Chicago Park District facilities and 50 CTA Cooling Buses at various Chicago Public Schools locations. 
 
To provide families an opportunity to cool off while playing at the park, the Chicago Park District is also activating splash pads from Tuesday, July 7 through Friday, July 10. Park District employees will monitor the splash pads to ensure families are safely social distancing while finding relief from the extreme heat. 

To assist some of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations, such as homeless individuals, seniors and people with disabilities, the Chicago Police Department, the Chicago Fire Department and DFSS and its delegate agencies are conducting wellness checks and outreach to ensure residents are aware of the city's designated cooling centers.
 
You can request a wellbeing check by downloading the CHI311 app, visiting 311.chicago.gov, or calling 311.

The city also warns against heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. A heatstroke is more serious and occurs when the body starts to lose its ability to regulate itself. The telltale signs of a heatstroke are an extremely high body temperature, such as 103 degrees or above; dizziness and nausea; a throbbing headache and a pulse that is rapid and strong; and skin that is red, hot and dry.
 
If you see someone suffering from heatstroke, call 911 immediately and then try to move the person into a cool place and cool the person with water.

The Chicago area is also under notice that air quality will be poor this week, which presents potential problems for people with lung issues.