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Heat Wave Bringing Challenges To County

With this heat wave, Chautauqua County officials are promoting four ‘Cs’ – community, consistency, cool space, and call.

Lacey Wilson, the director of the county’s Public Health Department went into detail on the four Cs.

“Community. Please check on your neighbors, especially those in the vulnerable populations,” she said.

“Consistency. Consistency in that water intake is very important,” she said.

“Cool space. Find those spaces of shade indoor and air conditioning,” and visit a nearby cooling center if air conditioning is not available at home. Those include area libraries, senior centers and the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood.

“Call. Please make a call to your medical provider if you are experiencing (heat) symptoms,” she said. Because emergency rooms can be overwhelmed, she recommends making a call first if possible.

County Executive PJ Wendel noted the heat wave, which began Monday, is expected to go through Thursday. By Friday, temperatures should dip slightly but remain on the high side throughout the weekend. Moderate temperatures are expected to return by Monday.

Wendel shared that one of the issues with this heat wave is that it isn’t cooling down at night.

Dr. Michael Faulk, chief medical officer for the county, gave a number of tips, including avoid working outside if possible, staying hydrated, wear loose-fitted clothing, and use things like a spray mist or wet washcloths to cool down your own body or someone else, including vulnerable children and senior citizens.

County Emergency Services Director Noel Guttman said it is possible that the power could go out due to the use of air conditioners and other electronic appliances. Anyone who uses a generator should make sure that it is properly vented.

There were a couple of brief power outages reported Monday night/Tuesday morning in Westfield, Ashville and Lakewood. All of the outages appear to have been caused by equipment failure and were unrelated to the higher temperatures.

Carmelo Hernandez, director of the county’s Social Services, noted there is a cooling program that can help get a household an air conditioner. The household must have at least one resident with a documented medical condition. There are income level restrictions as well. He said to contact his office for further information.

Dr. MaryAnn Spanos with the county Office for the Aging said there are 38,000 older adults living in Chautauqua County and many do not have family members nearby. “We think about checking on our neighbors during snow and cold emergencies but this is a time to really check on your neighbors who are living alone,” she said.

Other tips county officials offered include: don’t leave pets or children inside vehicles, avoid sugary drinks when trying to hydrate, wear sunscreen and hats when in the sun, avoid asphalt when walking pets, and get to a hospital immediately if someone is having a heat stroke.

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