Sussex County is designating three cooling stations for the public's use through the end of this week as the summer's first major round of heat and humidity sets in.
The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Sussex County through 8 p.m. today. Temperatures through the end of the week are expected to top out in the mid-90s, with heat index values of up to 105 degrees until at least Friday. Pop-up storms could provide some relief, but forecasters expect any showers to be isolated until becoming more widespread this weekend.
Three Sussex County facilities will serve as cooling stations during their regular business hours, offering the public respite from the heat and humidity. These air-conditioned facilities include:
>> County Admin Building, 2 The Circle, Georgetown, Del., 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
>> South Coastal Library, 43 Kent Avenue, Bethany Beach, Del., 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1-5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday
>> Milton Library, 121 Union Street, Milton, Del., 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday
Sussex County paramedics will make routine stops at these locations, as time permits, to answer any heat-related questions and/or concerns. Also, free, individual servings of water will be available at the County Administration Building ONLY to help the public cool off.
When visiting a relief station, please bring any medications and/or specialty items that you need.
Residents and visitors are urged to limit exposure outside, particularly during the hottest park of the day, roughly 1-6 p.m. Those who must be outside should take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.
Here are some hot weather safety tips:
>> Wear light-colored clothing. Lighter clothing deflects sunlight, and will not absorb heat like dark materials do.
>> Stay in properly ventilated areas.
>> Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest part of the day.
>> Have plenty of water available. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
>> Be aware of the signs of heat cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and seek medical attention if necessary. Signs of heat cramps can include muscular pains and spasms from heavy exertion. Resting in a cooler area, taking occasional sips of water and stretching the muscle mildly can counter the effects of heat cramps. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are much more serious, and may require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include a pale or flushed appearance, as well as headache and nausea. Heat stroke symptoms include rapidly increased body temperature, loss of consciousness, rapid or weak pulse and rapid, shallow breathing.
Page 2 of 2 - Be sure to check on friends, relatives and neighbors, particularly the elderly and young children, who may be at risk for exposure to the heat. Remember to give pets extra water, and provide shade or bring them into a residence where temperatures are cooler.
It is also important to keep in mind that due to higher temperatures and humidity expected in the area over the coming days, demand for electricity will increase. In an effort to reduce costs and avoid power shortages, the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center asks all residents and business operators in Sussex County to help conserve power to avoid outages.
You can help in the conservation of electricity by taking the following steps:
>> Set air conditioners to 80 degrees, or use fans instead, and minimize the opening of refrigerators and freezers.
>> Limit the use of electric water heaters and turn off non-essential appliances and lights.
>> Delay using high-energy appliances, such as washing machines and dryers, until after 8 p.m.
>> Prepare light summer meals that require minimal, if any, cooking. Try using an outdoor grill or microwave oven instead of an electric range.
>> Keep window shades, blinds, or drapes closed to block the sunlight during the hottest portion of the day.
>> Move lamps, TVs, and other heat sources away from air conditioner thermostats. Heat from those appliances could cause an air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
>> Move furniture and other obstacles from in front of central air conditioning ducts to allow cooler air to circulate through the rooms more freely.
Businesses can conserve electricity by:
>> Raising thermostats.
>> Turning off unnecessary lighting and equipment.
The Sussex County EOC and Sussex County EMS will continue to monitor the weather situation and issue updates as needed. For more information, call the EOC at (302) 855-7801 or the EMS at (302) 854-5050.