Extreme Temperatures Prompt Communities To Establish Cooling Centers

With record-breaking highs yesterday, many communities in the area established cooling centers to provide citizens with a place to cool off. Visitors to the Starke County 4-H Fair had to tolerate high 90-degree temperatures that felt hotter than 101 degrees with the humidity.

Fortunately, IU Health Starke Hospital put its Health Mobile to good use providing visitors with a place to go to get out of the sweltering heat and take a break. Hospital Interim President David Hyatt said the Health Mobile will help stave off heat exhaustion for fair-goers.

“With record setting heat temperatures, we need to make sure that people stay cool because heat stroke is a real danger, and we want to just make sure that we help keep the community healthy. So if anybody is feeling some heat exhaustion, we’ve got some cold water and they can stop by,” said Hyatt.

The cooling center was open and staffed til about 8 p.m., and though it was struggling to keep temperatures comfortable inside, the Health Mobile managed to provide relief to many who needed to get out of the sun. Starke County Commissioner Kathy Norem said an EMA trailer was also on hand at the fair yesterday, with ambulance personnel and EMS staff on the grounds as well.

“So we’re prepared to respond to emergencies here, so come to the fair and enjoy it. Don’t be afraid of the heat!” Norem said.

Starke County wasn’t alone in its establishment of a cooling center. Culver Town Manager David Schoeff announced that cooling centers are available in Culver at two locations until about 11 p.m.

“During the day, people can go to different locations – you’ve got libraries and businesses and such, and obviously during business hours our doors are always open. The evenings is what we were really look at providing some relief for folks that don’t have air conditioning, or it’s broke, or whatever the case may be,” Schoeff explained.

The centers in Culver are located at the town hall at 200 E. Washington Street, and at the Beach Lodge on Lake Shore Drive. This is the second time the Town of Culver has set up cooling stations for residents this year, and they will be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and tomorrow.