RESOURCES: Staying cool in the Charlotte region’s extreme heat

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — Mecklenburg County has opened cooling stations and other community resources in response to the extreme heat.

There is an excessive heat warning for areas in and around Charlotte, many of which have had long stretches of more than 90-degree temperatures. In June, MEDIC reported there were six people taken to the hospital for heat-related symptoms.

The Charlotte Area Transit System is also providing free transportation to the cooling centers for anyone who needs it.

The following are the locations the county is designating for cooling stations:

Roof Above will use its Day Services Center as a cooling station to anyone experiencing homelessness in Mecklenburg County.

Located at 945 North College Street, the Center will be open from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday and 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Misting stations, fans, water fountains and chairs are also available. In addition, homeless outreach staff will visit homeless encampments to provide information about cooling station locations and to provide water if needed.

The following are the spray grounds the county is making available for use from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily:

  • Clarks Creek Community Park, 5435 Hucks Road
  • Captain Jack, Elizabeth Park, 1100 East Trade Street
  • Cordelia Park, 600 East 24th Street
  • First Ward Park, 309 East Seventh Street
  • Latta Park, 601 East Park Avenue
  • Nevin Park, 6100 Statesville Road
  • Romare Bearden Park, 300 South Church Street
  • West Charlotte Recreation Center, 2401 Kendall Drive
  • Veterans Park, 2136 Central Avenue

The following are county pools available for use:

  • The Double Oaks Family Aquatic Center, 2014 Statesville Avenue, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
  • Cordelia Pool, 2100 North Davidson Street, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

The following are senior centers open for use as cooling stations:

  • Bette Rae Thomas, 2921 Tuckaseegee Road
  • David B. Waymer, 14008 Holbrooks Road
  • Eastway Regional, 3150 Eastway Park Drive
  • Mallard Creek, 2530 Johnston Oehler Road
  • Ivory/Baker, 1920 Stroud Park Court
  • Northern Regional Recreation Center 18121 Old Statesville Road, Cornelius
  • Revolution Park Sports Academy, 1225 Remount Road
  • Tyvola Senior Center, 2225 Tyvola Road

Click here for all center locations and hours of operation.

The following are Charlotte-Mecklenburg Libraries open for public use as cooling stations:

The libraries are generally open to the public from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Click here for branch information.

Mecklenburg County Fan Initiatives:

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is also giving fans to people ages 60 and older, and those ages 18 to 59 who receive disability income. Individuals are required to show a valid driver’s license or State ID providing proof of age and a current Mecklenburg County address when receiving a fan. Limited delivery and supplies are available. Fans are limited to one per household.

Please call 980-314-7018 to reserve and to pick up the fan at the Valerie C. Woodard Center, Building B in Charlotte.

Energy Bill Assistance:

Individuals and families in Mecklenburg County who are experiencing a cooling (or heating) energy bill-related crisis, a life-threatening or health-related emergency, and have a past due or final notice can apply for energy bill assistance through the DSS Crisis Intervention Program. Details on the program, including criteria and applications, are available here, or you can call 704-336-3000.

Assistance is available year-round or until all funds are exhausted.

Members of the public may also call 211 to receive the latest information regarding home utility and rental assistance options.

For more information about cooling stations or other heat-related respite and assistance, visit Mecklenburg County’s website.

Heat safety tips from the Red Cross:

  • Hot cars can be deadly. Never leave children or pets in your vehicle. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Check on family, friends and neighbors who do not have air conditioning, who spend much of their time alone or who are more likely to be affected by the heat.
  • If you don’t have air conditioning, seek relief from the heat during the warmest part of the day in places like schools, libraries, theaters, malls, etc.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Postpone outdoor games and activities.
  • Take frequent breaks and use a buddy system when working outdoors.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.

“Excessive heat can lead to sunburn, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If someone is experiencing heat cramps in the legs or abdomen, get them to a cooler place, have them rest, lightly stretch the affected muscle, and replenish their fluids with a half a glass (about 4 ounces) of cool water every 15 minutes.

“If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness and exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 911.

“Heat stroke usually occurs by ignoring the signals of heat exhaustion. Heat stroke develops when the body systems are overwhelmed by heat and begin to stop functioning. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 911 immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.”

(WATCH BELOW: Heatwave forces more than 50 million people under heat advisories)