Some Like it HOT…But We All Need to Stay SAFE

Delco’s Heat Plan details resources to help vulnerable people cope with extreme heat

2016 Heat Plan in PDF

2016 Heat Plan

The weather forecast for the summer of 2016 is calling for the heat to come on strong in June, with the Northeast sweltering under a series of heat waves through August.

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 the county Office of Adult and Family Services offer assistance to elderly and vulnerable residents throughout the summer months.

“We all love the summer, but it’s important for our residents – particularly the elderly, very young and those with health challenges – to say cool, stay hydrated and stay informed,” said County Councilman John McBlain, Council’s liaison to COSA. “The fact is, heat can kill or cause heat stroke or heat exhaustion. The good news is, we’re not in Arizona where record-shattering temperatures soared to 120 this week.”

McBlain urged residents to visit the county website to read the Heat Plan and check out the resources. He said residents should take 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.

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 first shipment of fans arrived at COSA on Monday, June 20, the first day of summer. COSA purchased some of the fans and 100 were donated by PECO. On Tuesday, the fans were delivered to the county’s eight senior centers for distribution to seniors needing cooling assistance.

“A fan might not seem like a big help, but air flow helps the body evaporate sweat and cool down,” McBlain said. “Creating air flow is important. We want to thank Ralph Brown, PECO’s external affairs manager for Delaware County, for PECO’s generous donation to our seniors.”

COSA’s Heat Information Line at (610) 872-1558 is a recorded 24-hour phone service that runs June 1 through Sept. 30, providing residents with heat advisory updates and information. People who need additional assistance can contact a COSA’s Information and Assistance service at (610) 490-1300.

McBlain 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.

Care managers are asked to identify “at risk” consumers who are homebound, living alone or have a prior history of inadequate cooling in their home.

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.

On any day when temperatures reach 90 degrees, 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.
People need to drink before they feel thirsty and if someone experiences signs of heat exhaustion, drinking water is not enough to reverse the symptoms. Individuals might need medical help.

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.

“And we can’t forget our four-legged friends,” McBlain said. “Don’t leave anyone in a car, including your pets and make sure they have plenty of water and shade.”

Heat Plan


Help coping with a heat wave

With the thermometer hovering near the 100-degree mark in the sun, Delaware County Councilman John McBlain visited the County Office of Services for the Aging (COSA) to detail the resources the county offers to help vulnerable residents, particularly the elderly, stay safe during a heat wave. McBlain then helped COSA workers load cooling fans on to county vans to be delivered to the county’s eight senior centers for use by residents. For more information visit

Heat Plan

Keep your cool!

Delaware County Councilman John McBlain and PECO’s Ralph Brown, the external affairs manager for Delaware County, loaded cooling vans on to a county van to be delivered to senior citizens to cope with the extreme heat. PECO donated 100 fans to the county Office of Services for the Aging, plus COSA bought an additional 200 fans for distribution. For the county’s Heat Plan and resources, visit the county website at

Heat Plan

Prevent heat exhaustion when temps rise

Delaware County Councilman John McBlain was joined by Denise Stewart (back), director of the county Office of Services for the Aging (COSA), and COSA worker Greta Dobbins in explaining how cooling fans are made available to senior citizens to help them stay cool during a heat wave. Dobbins said seniors, many who do not have air conditioning, are “thrilled, very happy” to receive the fans. COSA also offers information on the safe use of the fans. For resource information visit