With the high temperatures of late, many residents take air conditioning for granted. However, there may be those in the community who don’t have a cool refuge from the blistering heat.
To serve these folks, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program/Volunteers in Action of Central Kansas has started a Beat The Heat project which starts Monday, said RSVP/VIA Director Linn Hogg. “We know there are many out there of all ages who have nowhere to go.”
So, those who are dealing with the high heat index without fans or air conditioning can call the RSVP/VIA office to request information about a local cooling station, she said. Several area businesses and organizations have volunteered their site to help people in this very hot and humid weather.
“Residents needing this service can call our office at if they need to get to a site,” Hogg said. They will be asked if they need transportation, how many people and what ages and this will determine which location they can utilize.
There are some ground rules that apply to each site. They include:
• Those wanting to take part must call the RSVP/VIA office before 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
• No smoking or tobacco products, no e-cigarettes, no alcohol, and no pets.
• All children must have an adult to accompany them.
• Snacks can be eaten in designated areas and all areas must be kept clean.
• Volunteers will pick those needing rides up between 1 and 2 p.m. and drop back at their homes between 5 and 6 p.m.
Anyone who is wanting to help either as a volunteer or to donate fans, snack foods, water, children’s activities (coloring books, colors, word puzzles, books), is also encouraged to call Hogg’s office. Donated items can be dropped off at the RSVP/Volunteers in Action offices located at 1025 Main, D-114, Great Bend. Office hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Volunteers In Action Facebook page will continue to provide updates about this program and the heat wave, Hogg said. Also watch the Barton County page as well as the area city pages and United Way of Central Kansas for heat wave related information and resources.
Other resources in the area include Salvation Army, located at 2545 10th St., Great Bend and Emergency Aid, located at 3007 10th St., Great Bend has fans available. In Hoisington you can call the Hoisington City Office at 620-653-4125 for cooling station location.
According to the National Weather Service, heat causes more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. It is vital to remember that seniors, infants, children and people with chronic medical conditions are more prone to heat stress and heat-related illness.
“When temperatures start to rise, it’s important to know how to protect yourself and others, especially those who are at greater risk of heat-related illness,” said Shawn Sullivan, secretary of Kansas Departments on Aging. “If you have a friend, relative or neighbor who doesn’t have air-conditioning, now would be a good time to talk with them about getting into a cooler place.”
To volunteer, donate or take part in the Beat the Heat project can call the RSVP office at 620-792-1614.