With the extreme heat bearing down on Kansas City, it’s important to be prepared to remain cool.
When temperatures reach the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Getting out of the heat, even if it’s only for an hour or two, will help your body cool down.
All YMCA of Greater Kansas City locations will be open to the community 1-4 p.m. when the National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning. There is no charge, but people should bring a photo ID and check in at the Welcome Center when thy arrive.
As part of Y’s COVID-19 health and safety protocol, face coverings are recommended for anyone who is unvaccinated.
Children 15 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. Teens 16 and older may visit unaccompanied by an adult.
Activities vary by location. People are urged to call ahead for more information. To find a location near you, go to KansasCityYMCA.org/Locations.
Fans not enough
Using fans alone when the heat index exceeds 99 degrees can speed up the onset of heat-related illnesses, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“Generally, portable electric fans may not be a practical and safe cooling mechanism during an EHE (extreme heat event) in homes that are already hot and are not air-conditioned; their use should be discouraged unless the fans are bringing in significantly cooler air from outside the dwelling,” the EPA said.
Instead, people should take a cool shower or bath and drink cool nonalcoholic beverages. Better yet, head on over to a cooling center.
Many libraries and community centers in the Kansas City area serve as cooling centers during stretches of extreme heat. Movie theaters and shopping districts are good places to go too.
Excessive heat is the No. 1 weather-relegated killer, claiming an average of 138 lives per year in the U.S. from 1990 through 2019, according to the National Weather Service.
That’s higher than the average annual death tolls from flooding, 88, tornadoes, 65, and hurricanes or tropical storms, 45, in that 30-year-period.
Cooling center locations
The Y offers cooling centers as a part of our commitment to social responsibility and helping neighbors in a time of need. The locations offering cooling centers are:
Atchison Family YMCA/Cray Community Center, 321 Commercial St. in Atchison,
Bonner Springs Family YMCA, 2251 S. 138th St. in Bonner Springs,
Cleaver Family YMCA, 7000 Troost Ave. in Kansas City,
Linwood YMCA/James B. Nutter, Sr. Community Center, 3800 E. Linwood Blvd. in Kansas City,
North Kansas City YMCA, 1999 Iron St. in North Kansas City,
Olathe Family YMCA, 21400 W. 153rd St. in Olathe,
Paul Henson Family YMCA, 4200 W. 79th St. in Prairie Village,
Platte County Community Center South, 8875 Clark Ave. in Parkville,
Platte County Community Center North, 3101 Running Horse Road in Platte City,
Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center, 8601 Parallel Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas,
Red Bridge Family YMCA, 11300 Holmes Road in Kansas City.
The new Kirk Family YMCA in downtown Kansas City, Mo., is open only for a summer day camp program and will not serve as a Cooling Center this summer. The rest of the facility will open later this year.
Salvation Army cooling centers
The Salvation Army of Kansas City and Western Missouri will once again open all eight of its community centers across the Kansas City metro as cooling centers from 10 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday when Kansas City’s health department declares a heat emergency.
Salvation Army community center locations are:
Bellefontaine Community Center, 3013 E. Ninth St..
Blue Valley Community Center, 6618 E. Truman Road.
Westport Community Center, 500 W. 39th St.
Northland Community Center, 5306 N. Oak Trafficway, Kansas City, North.
Southland Community Center, 6111 E. 129th St., Grandview.
Independence Community Center, 14700 E. Truman Rd., Independence.
Harbor Light Village, 6723 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas.
Olathe Community Center, 420 E. Santa Fe, Olathe.
For more cooling centers near you, search the United Way of Greater Kansas City’s and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ websites. Or call the United Way’s 2-1-1 line for resources.
In Missouri, people can call the state’s toll-free abuse and neglect hotline at (800) 392-0210 to report senior citizens or adults with disabilities suffering from the heat and in need of assistance.