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City facilities, other locations available as cooling centers

In the wake of heat advisories, citizens should know that several city facilities are available as cooling centers. Centers also exist in several other locations in Jasper County.

As the heat index increases to dangerously high levels, City officials remind citizens to check on family members, neighbors and friends to ensure their environment is adequate to endure the hot conditions.

In addition, City facilities are available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to help citizens keep cool off. Facilities include:

* City Hall, 602 South Main;

* Joplin Health Department, 321 East 4th Street;

* Dr. Donald Clark Public Safety Center, 303 East 3rd;

* Joplin Athletic Center, 3010 West 1st Street;

* Joplin Regional Airport, 7331North Highway 43.

The City’s Health Department has gathered information from other organizations which serve as a cooling center during extreme high temperatures. To view, go to Additional Cooling Centers

Important tips to remember during heat waves include:

* Slow down: reduce, eliminate or reschedule strenuous activities until the coolest time of the day. Children, seniors and anyone with health problems should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.

* Dress for summer. Wear lightweight, loose fitting, light-colored clothing to reflect heat and sunlight.

* Eat light, cool, easy-to-digest foods such as fruit or salads. If you pack food, put it in a cooler or carry an ice pack. Don’t leave it sitting in the sun. Meats and dairy products can spoil quickly in hot weather.

* Drink plenty of water (not very cold), non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you on a fluid restrictive diet or have a problem with fluid retention, consult a physician before increasing consumption of fluids.

* Use air conditioners or spend time in air-conditioned locations such as malls and libraries.

* Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air.

* Do not direct the flow of portable electric fans toward yourself when room temperature is hotter than 90°F. The dry blowing air will dehydrate you faster, endangering your health.

* Minimize direct exposure to the sun. Sunburn reduces your body’s ability to dissipate heat.

* Take a cool bath or shower.

* Do not take salt tablets unless specified by a physician.

* Check on older, sick, or frail people who may need help responding to the heat. Each year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia. Keep your children, disabled adults, and pets safe during tumultuous heat waves.

* Check on pets/companion animals to ensure they have cool water and shade during extreme heat temperatures.

* Don’t leave valuable electronic equipment, such as cell phones and GPS units, sitting in hot cars.

* Make sure rooms are well vented if you are using volatile chemicals.

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