As the heat index once again increases to dangerously high levels, Joplin City officials remind citizens to check on family members, neighbors, and friends to ensure their environment is adequate to endure the hot conditions.
According to Keith Stammer, Emergency Manager for Joplin and Jasper County, the area doesn’t typically see cooling centers open until temperatures reach 100 degrees or more for three consecutive days. With the forecast moving toward that possibility, Stammer has noted that the City’s public areas are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. In the current environment, people are asked to be respectful of others’ space, leaving approximately six feet between each other. Building options 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, 3301 West 1st Street
“The City wants to be a good neighbor, and we allow access to our public space during normal business hours,” he said. “We also encourage our area houses of worship, clubs, civic organizations, and businesses to follow suit and open their public areas as well.”
Jasper County’s COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disasters) will help spread the word when shelters are warranted and will act as a common notification point via their Facebook page.
“It’s important for all of us to be good neighbors,” he said. “We should check on each other and offer what help we can for relief from the heat.”
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 light 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 are 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.
- Don’t leave valuable electronic equipment, such as cell phones, sitting in hot cars.
- Make sure rooms are well vented if you are using volatile chemicals.
Also, pet owners are reminded to check on pets/companion animals to ensure they have cool water and shade during extreme heat temperatures.