Despite extreme heat, medical emergencies remain low

There are plenty of ways to beat the heat, but depending on your job or financial situation, staying cool isn't always an easy option.

In effort to assist the needy and elderly, many cities and towns opened cooling centers and in some cases, even extended swimming hours at neighborhood pools.

The line was out the door and into the parking lot when gates opened at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Pierre Moran Pool in Elkhart. Within an hour the local watering hole had 220 guests, a record one-day attendance with that number expected to nearly double by the day's end.

"Of yeah, we have our concession stand over there and we sell drinks from it constantly. The pool is at a good temperature and if you do have heat exhaustion, we bring you in, we cool you down and we have water for you,” assistant manager Aimee Deitz said.

In effort to brace for the “splash” of visitors, pool management called in every staff member to lessen the workload on lifeguards.

"During our breaks, our guards will actually be getting in the pool to cool off because we don't want them to be getting overheated,” Deitz added.

Another hot commodity, cooling centers including Elkhart’s YMCA and the National New York Central Railroad Museum.

"Oh it's just such a relief. As soon as that cool air hit me in the face, I didn't want to leave and I still don't want to leave, it felt real good,” Elkhart resident Angela Young who suffers from bronchial asthma said.

In addition to the free air, guests were given bottled water and allowed to wander through the exhibits for absolutely no charge.

"Yeah I'm just glad this place is open. My suggestion to everyone else that does not have an air conditioner is to come here where it's nice and cool,” Young concluded.

While Thursday brought the worst of the heat, Michiana is by no means out of the woods. According to StormTeam 16, high temperatures will remain in the upper eighties and low nineties through early next week. To assist citizens like Young, both the Elkhart YMCA and Rail Museum will be open to guests from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday.

As of 3 p.m. Thursday, St. Joseph, Elkhart and Berrien Counties had each answered only one heat-related 911 call. Why such a low number? Dispatchers cite preparedness and the use of common sense.

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