County Council issues extreme heat warning;
Lists resources to help vulnerable people cope with heat
With dangerous heat conditions forecast for most of this week, Delaware County Council issued an extreme heat warning that will remain in effect through Saturday.
Council reminds residents that the county’s Heat Plan is in place, and assistance is available for elderly and vulnerable residents throughout the summer months.
County Council alerts residents to take extra precautions during a heat wave, to seek air-conditioned spaces, 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. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to top out in the mid-90s through Friday with heat index values to reach the low 100s.
Forecasters said a large dome of high pressure over the Northeast means the “three Hs: hazy, hot and humid.” Those conditions are a cause of concern for the elderly and people with health conditions, but these temperatures are even oppressive for people in good physical condition.
The County Office of Services of the Aging (COSA) has a Heat Plan for the county that includes a Heat Information Line, extended hours at Senior Centers, and educational information on heat safety tips, dehydration, and safe use of fans. The COSA office in Eddystone has a limited supply of free fans for seniors.
The Heat Information Line at (610) 872-1558 is a recorded 24-hour phone service that typically runs 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 County Council Vice-Chairman Mario J. Civera Jr., Council’s liaison to COSA. “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.”
Civera 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.
When the elderly and chronically ill don’t have protection from the heat, such as air-conditioning and plenty of fluids, they can develop serious health effects.
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.
It is especially important for young children and older adults, as well as people who have heart and breathing problems or are on certain medications, to pay close attention to what they are doing and how they feel during hot and humid weather.
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 Office of Behavioral Health, said staff expands it outreach to homeless and vulnerable adults during a heat wave and implements overflow bed procedures at the shelters.
The Mental Health Division of the Office of Behavioral Health provides a Summer Cooling Program for people with mental illness who are registered in the public mental health system. Case managers or other support staff can access fans for individuals and families they serve by contacting Providence House at 610 876-2403.
Printable Heat Information Flyers and helpful websites:
Locations providing Extended Hours During Excessive Heat Warning
Chester Senior Center
Upper Darby Senior Center
Wayne Senior Center