Dangerous Independence Day Heat Opens Public Cooling Station
(MEMPHIS) The city of Memphis hadn’t planned to open any cooling centers today, but those plans changed Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m. when the National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for Memphis.
The heat advisory is expected to last until friday evening, and usually the NWS issues those advisories when the heat index is expected to be above 105 degrees.
The city has been telling people to seek refuge from the high temperatures in public buildings like the libraries and community centers, but today those public buildings are closed for the Fourth of July holiday. All of them except for the Orange Mound Community Center.
Raymond Stone volunteered to work this holiday as the cooling center’s manager.
“The most important thing is we want to try to keep anyone from having a heat stroke and if, hey, don’t have any place to go, this is a good place to come. It’s centrally located in the city,” said Stone.
Stone says people can come grab some water and sit in he air conditioned gym to cool off.
So far today not too many people have come by the center, but Fire Director Alvin Benson says that’s expected. He says most people are with their families today for the holiday, but it’s still important to offer a safe place from the heat.
“We want to provide a resource. We are the City of Memphis. We care. It’s the responsible thing to do. We want people to be safe,” said Director Benson.
Benson says it’s important for you to stay hydrated in these high temperatures and go inside to escape the danger. It’s also important to check on your neighbors.
For Devetra Jones, this Fourth of July is hotter than a firecracker.
“What do I think about it? I can’t think. It’s burning my brain cells. It’s baking,” said Jones.
Jones knows this heat can be dangerous for her elderly neighbors, and even went to check on some.
“She’s got her door closed don’t she? I told her close your door because the heat is coming in here,” said Jones.
Kimberly Miles lives on what she describes an elderly street in Orange Mound and knows the importance of checking on neighbors during this heat wave.
“We ask them if they are ok, and they ask us if we are ok and we make sure our kids are ok because I have three kids of my own and they love to come outside so I have to make them stay in the house until after seven o’clock when it’s come down some,” said Miles.