In Oklahoma, it’s not uncommon to have days when the mercury hits above 100 degrees. For many people living without air conditioning or on the streets, these blistering hot days can be dangerous.
The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Kitchen is a cooling center on days when the heat index is over 100 degrees. Located at 330 SW 4th St., the Cooling Station opens at 11 a.m. and closes around 4 p.m. to get ready for dinner that night.
Those at the Cooling Center can enjoy air conditioning and cold water. It’s a way to escape the heat.
So, here’s a few facts about Cooling Centers, courtesy of our Social Services Director, Ashley Jones:
A Cooling Center is a facility, such as a senior center or community center, business, church, library, social service agency, etc. where people may go to enjoy air-conditioned comfort during a heat emergency.
Most target low-income and/or senior populations; however, they are open to anyone in the community seeking shelter from extreme heat. We strongly encourage people with medical conditions that make them unusually sensitive to extreme temperatures to take advantage of the center closest to them.
There are scores of cooling centers throughout the City, please review attachment for locations, days of operation and hours of availability.
During the summer months, Oklahomans are especially vulnerable to heat-related hazards. Heat waves are particularly dangerous for children, seniors, people with cardiovascular disease, and people taking psychotropic and other medications. According to the Centers for Disease Control, social isolation and the inability to care for oneself puts a person at greater risk for heat-related illness.
A heat wave’s duration plays an important role in how people are affected. Studies show that a significant rise in heat-related illnesses occurs when excessive heat lasts for more than two days. Spending even two hours per day in air-conditioned spaces can significantly reduce the number of heat-related illnesses.
Lastly, those who visit a Cooling Center on a regular basis have seen a reduction in their energy bill. They raise their air conditioner thermostat before leaving, keep blinds and drapes closed, do not use ovens, clothes dryers or dishwashers during peak hours 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. daily and turn off and unplug any unnecessary electric equipment.
So, if you know of anyone needing a Cooling Center, please tell them they are welcome at The Salvation Army, where we are “Doing the Most Good.”