St. Joseph County cooling centers
Battell Center at 904 N Main St, Mishawaka: 9 to 5
Martin Luther King Center at 1522 Linden Avenue, South Bend: 9 to 9
O'Brien Recreation Center at 321 E Walter St., South Bend: 9 to 9
Charles Black Recreation Center at 3419 W. Washington Street, South Bend: 9 to 9
Charles Martin Youth Center at 802 Lincoln Way West, South Bend: 9 to 5:30
Plymouth Life Enrichment Center at 1305 W. Harrison St.: 8 to 4:30
Bourbon Town Clerk Office at 104 E. Park: 8 to 4:30
Bremen Town Clerk Office at 123 S. Center St.: 8 to 5
Countryside Academy is holding a public cooling center in its air-conditioned gym and activity room. Dates and times for the cooling center are Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, July 20, 21, and 22 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The cooling center will provide free refreshments, and will have movies and Bingo available. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Countryside Academy is located at 4800 Meadowbrook Road in Benton Harbor.
Plymouth Baptist Church at 11345 9A Road has volunteered to serve as an additional cooling center for anyone needing relief from the heat and high humidity.
The cooling center opened today. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. through Friday.
Cooling centers also been established at Life Enrichment Center in Plymouth, Bourbon Town Hall and Bremen Town Hall. These three centers are only open during normal business hours.
TheNew York Central Railroad Museum at 721 S. Main Street in Elkhart will be open during the daytime hours as a cooling center.
The Niles Cooling Center is located at the Niles Fire Station Complex at 1345 E. Main Street. In addition, the Niles Dial A Ride Transportation System will offer one complimentary ride per person per day to and from the Niles Cooling Center. Call the Dial A Ride offices at 684-5150.
Heat-related illness prevention tips:
- Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Warning: If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink while the weather is hot.
- Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar — these actually cause you to lose more body fluid. Also, avoid very cold drinks, because they can cause stomach cramps.
- Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air-conditioned place. If your home does not have air conditioning, go to the shopping mall or public library — even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help your body stay cooler when you go back into the heat. Call your local health department to see if there are any heat-relief shelters in your area.
- Electric fans may provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place, is a much better way to cool off.
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
Although any one at any time can suffer from heat-related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
- Infants and young children
- People aged 65 or older
- People who have a mental illness
- Those who are physically ill, especially withheart disease or high blood pressure
Visit adults at risk at least twice a day and closely watch them for signs of heat exhaustion orheat stroke. Infants and young children, of course, need much more frequent watching.
If you must be out in the heat:
- Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
- Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage can replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat. Warning: If you are on a low-salt diet, talk with your doctor before drinking a sports beverage. Remember the warning in the first "tip" (above), too.
- Try to rest often in shady areas.
- Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat (also keeps you cooler) and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher (the most effective products say "broad spectrum" or "UVA/UVB protection" on their labels).
AC tips from Midwest Energy Cooperative:
- Be reasonable in your expectations: In this region, the summer design temperature for cooling equipment is about 89°. That means when it hits that temperature outside, your AC unit will run full tilt to keep your house cool. Higher outside temps may cause your house to be a little bit warmer than what you’d really prefer.
- Do NOT crank the thermostat down: Leave it set where you normally have it. Moving the dial from 76° to 72° will not change the temperature of the air coming out of the registers; it just makes the unit run longer to reach the desired temperature. If your unit is already running full time to keep the house at 76°, moving the dial down will not make the house any cooler.
- It may not be the equipment’s fault: Leaky ductwork, poor insulation levels and air leaks in the home’s envelope all contribute to comfort issues. We tend to notice these issues more during extreme summer heat. Be sure to note areas in your home that are particularly uncomfortable this week so that you can do some further investigation when things cool down. Many modifications related to the home’s envelope don’t cost as much as you might think.
- Is the filter clean: Take a look and change it or clean it if you even THINK it’s dirty. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make your AC unit work harder than it needs to. That costs you extra money AND you won’t be as cool.
- Close your curtains, shades or blinds: Keeping the sunshine out will help keep the rooms as cool as possible. If you don’t like feeling like you are in a cave then just close them on the east side in the morning and the west side in the afternoon. If you have south facing windows you may want to keep them closed all day to keep the heat down in those rooms.
- Do not block supply registers OR returns: The key to comfort is to keep the air flowing. Move furniture around so that you are not blocking any supply or return registers.
- Use ceiling fans and/or box fans: Even warmer air feels cooler if it’s moving.
- Check the outdoor unit: Be sure it’s free of grass clippings, leaves, pet hair and other things. If the fins are plugged up, carefully brush them off. You can also carefully wash them with your garden hose. Having the fins clear allows the air to flow better and the unit to dissipate the heat it is pulling from your house.