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Cooling shelters to open in Lebanon, White River Junction because of expected heat wave



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, July 18, 2019

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — As the region braces for a heat wave this weekend, health officials are urging people to prepare and shelters in Hartford and Lebanon will be open to give people a cool place to escape the heat.

The Upper Valley Haven, located at 713 Hartford Ave. in White River Junction, normally is closed for services other than its shelters on weekends.

But with temperatures expected to rise to the mid-90s, Haven officials decided to open the doors to the air-conditioned building for the warmest hours on Saturday and Sunday, according to a post on the nonprofit’s Facebook page.

“We’re concerned that the predicted high temperatures could be a major health risk to our friends and neighbors who can’t find a cool place to avoid the heat,” Michael Redmond, the Haven’s executive director, said in the post. “I asked the Haven staff if anyone would be willing to work over the weekend, so we could be open, and I was overwhelmed by the positive response.”

The Haven will be open to the public from 1:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be available. The Haven will be open regular hours Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Several cooling shelters also will be open in Lebanon, including the Lebanon Public Library and Kilton Public Library in West Lebanon, the Upper Valley Senior Center and the Lebanon Airport terminal.

The libraries will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

The senior center will be open only to seniors on Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The airport terminal will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Lebanon residents also will have free access to the Lebanon Veterans Memorial Pool from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, 12 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Residents will be required to present identification as proof of residency.

The Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Emergency Management and the National Weather Service issued a news release on Thursday urging people to drink water and take breaks in the shade or cool indoor locations as temperatures climb.

“During hot weather, your body’s temperature control systems can have a hard time keeping up, and your temperature can get dangerously high,” the release said.

During last summer’s six-day heat wave, the heat contributed to four Vermont deaths, and there were 15 times more heat-related emergency department visits than is typical.

Older adults, infants and young children are more prone to heat-related illness, as are those who work or exercise outdoors, are overweight, have chronic medical conditions, are taking certain medications, or are using drugs or alcohol.

The release urges people to check on those who are at greater risk; to wear lightweight, light-colored clothing; to limit outdoor activities; to close window shades and windows during the day; to avoid using appliances and lights that produce heat; and to make sure pets have water and a cool place to be.

Though most symptoms — which include muscle cramps, heavy sweating, nausea, headaches or light-headedness — can be treated with non-alcoholic, decaffeinated fluids and rest, if symptoms persist or if someone loses consciousness a call to 911 may be warranted.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.