County Council puts Heat Plan in place
The weather forecast for the summer of 2015 is calling for more 90-degree days than last summer and residents have already experienced several hot, muggy days.
With that in mind, Delaware County Council wants residents to know that the county’s Heat Plan is in place. Both the Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) and Office of Adult Services offer assistance to elderly and vulnerable residents throughout the summer months.
County Council alerts residents to take extra precautions during a heat wave, and to check in with elderly and disabled family members and neighbors who are at greater risk for heat-related illnesses.
The National Weather Service describes a heat wave as three or more days when the temperature is 90 degrees or higher.
The main thing is for people to be prepared, said County Councilman John McBlain, Council’s liaison to the County Office of Services of the Aging (COSA).
COSA’s Heat Plan includes a Heat Information Line, extended hours at Senior Centers, and educational information on heat safety tips, dehydration, and safe use of fans.
The Heat Information Line at (610) 872-1558 is a recorded 24-hour phone service that typically runs June 1 through Sept. 30, providing residents with heat advisory updates and information. People who need additional assistance can contact a COSA staff member by calling the Information and Assistance service at (610) 490-1300.
“When the weather service issues an excessive heat warning, it’s important for our elderly and vulnerable residents to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses,” said McBlain. “People who are 65 and older are vulnerable to heat-related illnesses and we ask that residents check on their elderly family members and neighbors.”
He said the Delaware County Heat Plan calls for senior centers and adult day care centers to extend their hours, to offer water and non-caffeinated beverages throughout the day, and to reinforce with service-provider drivers to check on consumers.
COSA has a limited number of fans available for senior residents in need of assistance.
Delaware County Senior Medical Advisor Dr. George Avetian said it is particularly important for seniors and those with health problems to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Common symptoms of dehydration are headache, dry skin, light-headedness, nausea and fast heartbeat.
COSA offers the following heat safety tips: drink plenty of fluids (in consultation with your physician regarding medication and fluids); wear lightweight clothing; stay indoors or seek relief at a senior center, mall or friend’s house who has air-conditioning; and avoid strenuous activity. People should limit alcohol or beverages containing caffeine.
The Delaware County Department of Human Services also expands its outreach to vulnerable populations. Chris Seibert, Division Coordinator with the Division of Adult and Family Services, said staff expands it outreach to homeless and vulnerable adults during a heat wave and implements overflow bed procedures at the shelters.
Printable Heat Information Flyers and helpful websites:
Locations providing Extended Hours During Excessive Heat
Chester Senior Center
Upper Darby Senior Center
Wayne Senior Center