It’s never too early to start planning for the brutal desert heat, that often reaches triple digits in the dead of summer.
Supervisor Manuel Perez says many don’t have the option of just staying home and running the A.C., “We have folks out there that whether they may be homeless or whether they’re individuals working out in the fields or even just senior citizens that just need a cool place to go to.”
Perez together with the Community Action Partnership held a ‘Cool Centers Kick Off event at the Palm Desert Aquatic Center to remind people they don’t have to suffer in a hot house this summer.
“If they don’t have the ability to keep their air conditioner all day they have a place they can go … Play some games, have some refreshments and stay cool,” says Brenda Salas Freeman, the executive director of CAP.
And if you’ve shied away from cooling centers in the past because you couldn’t take your pet, don’t worry, Freeman says more centers allow pets, but call ahead to make sure. She says they must be crated and well behaved.
Sally Smith who moved to the desert from Northern California says these centers will save lives this summer, “We have so many people especially in our neighborhood who don’t have air conditioning, so to keep and their children in 100 plus degrees dangerous for their health.”
The kick off was also an opportunity to remind people of the importance of water safety.
“Drowning is a silent and quick event so we really need families to be focused on their child and like we say pay attention, drowning prevention,” says Erin Malone, with Riverside University Public Health, adding that drownings happen year round in the valley to people of all ages.
Perez says last year over 20 thousand people visited one of 56 cooling centers across the county, “Our goal is to keep people safe and keep people cool during the summer months and making sure ultimately that people have a better quality of life.”
For tips on staying safe in the hot summer months, and to find the cooling center nearest you click here: Cooling Centers