Milwaukee Co. Exec. Abele: Staying cool and safe: Milwaukee County resources for beating the heat

MEDIA CONTACT: Karina Henderson
414.278.4216 (office) | karina.henderson@milwaukeecountywi.gov

Help yourself, family members and neighbors stay safe as heat index climbs in Milwaukee County

MILWAUKEE, Friday, June 29, 2018 – As the heat index is expected to climb in Milwaukee County headed into this weekend, several County departments are working to ensure residents, visitors and employees are staying safe. The County provides a number of resources to help ensure vulnerable populations and those spending time outdoors stay cool and hydrated during intense heat.

“Check on your family members, check on your neighbors and take precautions if you’re spending time outdoors this weekend,” said County Executive Chris Abele. “The County is here to help where we can to make sure everyone stays safe – but ultimately we need everyone in our community to be aware and to watch out for one another this weekend.”

Most vulnerable in the heat include seniors and those who are taking medications that may affect their ability to cope with the heat, including medications for cardiovascular issues and mental health. Anyone who spends time outside or who may not have access to air conditioned or other cool indoor spaces is also at a greater risk.

In an Emergency: Heat stroke is a serious medical condition. If you or someone you know is experiencing dizziness, headache, muscle cramps, weakness, nausea or vomiting, it is important to cool down, get in the shade or indoors, and drink water or juice. If the symptoms escalate to include hot/dry skin, confusion, unconsciousness, chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911.

Cooling Sites: The Milwaukee County Department on Aging is a member of the Milwaukee Heat Task Force, which coordinates agencies throughout the community and develops strategies to protect citizens during times of extreme heat.

Milwaukee County senior centers serve as cooling sites; all are open on Friday, but close on the weekends. Clinton Rose, Kelly, Washington and Wilson senior centers are open until 7 p.m. on Friday; the McGovern site will close at5 p.m. The City of Milwaukee maintains a full list of available cooling sites in the area at city.milwaukee.gov/health/HotWeatherSafety.

Water-Based Recreation: Milwaukee County Parks offer a variety of water-based recreation sites, including wading pools, splash pads, indoor and outdoor pools and beaches. A full list of sites is available atonmilwaukee.com/family/articles/poolsguide.html.

Energy Assistance: If you have had power shut off, or are in danger of having power shut off, you can contact Milwaukee County Energy Assistance at 414.270.4MKE (270.4653), or at EnergyAssistanceMKE.org. They have offices open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., and after hours, can still connect you to help through Impact 2-1-1. Their offices will be closed on July 4.

Aging Resource Center: Extreme weather is particularly dangerous for older adults due to potential complications from other health conditions and a lessening ability to adapt to heat. For any older adults looking for help and information about resources during hot weather, they can call the Milwaukee County Aging Resource Center at 414.289.6874 at any time. After hours, these calls are directed to Impact 2-1-1 for assistance.

Take Caution Outside: Anyone spending time outside should be sure to drink plenty of non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids; wear light, loose clothing; be generous with the sunscreen; and take lots of breaks in the shade or indoors. Kids and pets should not be left unattended inside cars.

These precautions are important whether spending time outdoors for recreation or for work. For example, the Milwaukee County Department of Transportation has instructed its managers to keep an eye on all employees during high heat, as well as to make sure they hydrate and take additional breaks.

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