Cooling centers open amid dangerous heat wave

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Triple-digit heat indexes are expected Friday and Saturday.
The City of Gadsden and the Gadsden/Etowah County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) began stressing the importance of heat safety and encourage citizens to take precautions in the dangerous heat during the Tuesday, June 27, City Council meeting.
“Some of the population is more susceptible to heat-related illnesses, such as young children and infants, older adults, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women and those who work outdoors,” the City of Gadsden said later in a press release.
Warm temperatures with high humidity values will lead to heat index values approaching as high as 108 degrees each afternoon for all of Etowah County. A Heat Advisory or Excessive Heat Warning is possible Friday and Saturday. The Heat Index measures how hot it feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature.
Heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States and heat-related illnesses can occur within a short period of exposure.
There will be cooling stations open around Etowah County on Thursday, Friday and
Saturday at the following locations:
• Salvation Army, 1101 1st Avenue, Friday and Saturday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Day guests are invited for supper at 5 p.m. The overnight shelter will still be open for clients, but beds are limited.
• Gadsden Public Library, all three locations: Main Library, 254 S. College Street, Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Alabama City branch, 2700 West Meighan Boulevard, Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and East Gadsden branch, 809 East Broad Street, Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Freedom Center, 1601 West Meighan Boulevard., Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Hokes Bluff Community Center, 5981 Gilliland Street, Friday and Saturday after 2 p.m. Call City Hall at 256-492-2414 or dispatch at 256-442-2312 for access.
• Southside Public Library, 2138 Ala.Hwy. 77, Southside. Friday and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Altoona Community Center, 3680 Main Street, Altoona, Friday and Saturday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Call City Hall at 205-589-2311 for access.
The EMA provided some tips for staying safe in the heat: Remember to never leave an infant, toddler, disabled person, senior or pet locked in a car; when outdoors slow down, take frequent breaks in the shade, dress appropriately and minimize your exposure to the sun; eat light and drink plenty of water; and provide adequate shelter and water for pets.
The following symptoms are signs of heat exhaustion: feeling dizzy or faint, excessive sweating, clammy/cold skin, nausea or vomiting, weak/rapid pulse and muscle cramps are signs of heat exhaustion. If left unresolved, heat exhaustion can turn into heat stroke, which can be fatal. The signs of heat stroke are throbbing headache/ confusion, no sweating, body temperature above 103 degrees, red/hot/dry skin, nausea or vomiting, rapid/strong pulse and loss of consciousness.
If you encounter anyone with the symptoms of heat stroke, carefully move the individual to cooler, shady spot and call 911 immediately.

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