Connecticut heat wave advisory in effect; Hartford cooling centers open

Douglas Hook/Hartford Courant/TNS
·6 min read

The National Weather service has issued a heat advisory for Northern Connecticut, much of Rhode Island and portions of western, central and eastern Massachusetts.

The advisory is in effect through 11 p.m. Wednesday, according to the agency.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s extreme hot weather protocol was activated at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, July 19 and is to stay in place through Sunday, July 24, according to the office of Gov. Ned Lamont.

Further, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said that as result of the forecast high high temperatures, it is expecting elevated ozone levels across coastal Connecticut. “These levels may approach or exceed unhealthy for sensitive groups (USG) levels for parts of Connecticut on July 20, 2022 and could continue into the rest of the week,” the agency said in a statement.

The weather service said heat index values up to 100 are expected in Northern Connecticut, much of Rhode Island and portions of western, central and eastern Massachusetts. The hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses to occur, the weather service said.

The state’s extreme hot weather protocol activation is a result of a weather forecast that predicts temperatures will top more than 95 degrees with the heat index expected “to go over triple digits at times” in the next few days, according to Lamont’s office.

The protocol allows state agencies, municipalities, and others to coordinate with United Way 2-1-1 to ensure information on cooling centers is available statewide.

The city of Hartford announced it has opened its cooling centers to residents today and ending on Sunday, July 24.

“We also want residents to remember to drink plenty of water before they go out and before they get thirsty. Please stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, and please remember to check in on your loved ones and neighbors, especially young children and seniors, who may be particularly affected by the heat,” Mayor Luke Bronin said in a statement.

Locations include the Downtown Library at 500 Main St., the Albany Library at 1250 Albany Ave., the Barbour Library at 261 Barbour St., the Camp Field Library at 30 Campfield Ave., the Dwight Library at 7 New Park Ave., the Park Street Library @ the Lyric at 603 Park St., the North End Senior Center at 80 Coventry St. and the South End Wellness Senior Center at 830 Maple Ave. The libraries are open during business hours Monday through Friday. The senior centers are open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For information on cooling centers, call 2-1-1 or look online at 211ct.org to find a location.

“We’re about to experience our first heat wave of the year that over the next several days will bring very hot conditions, especially during the peak sunlight hours of the day,” Lamont said in a statement.

“I strongly urge anyone who needs a place to cool off to call 2-1-1 to find their nearest available cooling center. Everyone should take the necessary precautions as the heat rises over the next several days,” he said. “A few steps can greatly reduce heat-related issues, especially for the elderly, the very young, and people with respiratory ailments who are more susceptible to the effects of high temperatures.”

According to the statement, prevention tips to stay safe in extreme heat include:

  • Keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat-related illness.

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. If you must be outdoors, try to limit your outdoor activity to the morning and evening. Try to rest often in shady areas so that your body has a chance to cool off.

  • Find an air-conditioned shelter. (Call 2-1-1 for a list of cooling centers.) Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.

  • Avoid direct sunlight.

  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.

  • Take cool showers or baths.

  • Check on those most at-risk several times a day.

  • Pets that cannot be brought indoors should be provided ready access to water and shade to keep them cool.

  • Drink more water than usual.

  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.

  • Drink two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.

  • Avoid alcohol or liquids containing high amounts of sugar.

  • Remind others to drink enough water.

In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association offers these tips for families facing Alzheimer’s and other dementias to prepare for extreme heat conditions:

● Make a plan. Family and friends should prepare accordingly and make plans to regularly check-in on a person living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias during extreme heat. Arrange alternative plans for cooler spaces, if air conditioning is unavailable, and dress in loose, light clothing.

● Pay attention at night. Keep people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias cool by using fans and keeping the air conditioning on. At night, low temperatures can still exceed 75 degrees with little fluctuation in humidity levels, making for difficult and exacerbating sleeping conditions, heightened anxiety and increased agitation.

● Prepare for behavioral challenges. Research shows that heat can increase agitation and confusion in people. Try to remove behavioral triggers by addressing the person’s physical needs related to the heat, then tending to their emotional needs.

● Stay hydrated. Increased water intake is essential to maintaining good hydration and health during extreme heat. Know the signs of heat exhaustion to avoid heat stroke. Dehydration may be difficult to notice in a person living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as signs like increased fatigue, dry mouth and headache may be difficult to detect. People taking diuretics, sedatives, or certain heart medication may not sweat as much as others, but this does not mean that they are not hot.

● Stay indoors and out of the sun. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion may occur in extreme heat conditions but symptoms may be difficult to detect in people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Keep individuals cool by using air conditioning at home or move to a public place, such as a senior center or shopping mall. If you must go outside, be sure to dress appropriately, loose, light clothing, wear a hat, and apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher.

● Stay informed. Keep an eye on local weather forecasts. High temperatures are not the only cause for concern. Humidity and air pollution indices can cause breathing difficulties. The person should be monitored regularly and seek medical attention if symptoms arise of dehydration, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.

The Alzheimer’s Association is here to help families take measures to prepare for and cope with such extraordinary circumstances. For more information, visit alz.org or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.