With temperatures in the area expected to be near 100 degrees as early as next Tuesday, Washington County Public Health Officials are urging the public to put together a plan to stay cool ahead of the forecasted blaze.
“Since we have advanced notice of the heat event, if you have the means, buy an air conditioner now,” said The county’s emergency management coordinator, Alita Fitz. “If that is not an option, make a plan to stay cool, talk to your friends or family members who have AC, or find a cooling center near you.”
According to Fitz, residents can find a list of cooling centers, libraries, splash pads and other cooling options on the county’s map.
After the National Weather Service tweeted Thursday, “Next week, inland temperatures will climb to near record readings for several days,” Fitz urges people to check on elderly neighbors and those most vulnerable to the heat, like the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions.
Fitz said residents can call the non-emergency dispatch line at (503) 629-0111 to help conduct welfare checks of vulnerable loved ones.
“If you are trying to call a neighbor or family member and they aren’t answering, you can call non-emergency dispatch for someone to go over and do a welfare check for you,” she said.
Fitz warned if the temperature is above 95 degrees, using a fan will increase dehydration and could potentially worsen heat-related illness.
Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue (TVF&R) told KOIN 6 News, their team will modify schedules next week to help keep their emergency responders safe and ready to respond.
Stefan Myers, of TVF&R, said people should be on the lookout for signs of heat stroke such as, “Dizziness, headaches, and I think one of the more telltale signs is that you go from heavy sweating, to no sweating, and your skin becomes dry – and that’s actually a time in which you don’t want to give people water. That’s absolutely instead a time to call 911.”
As the prolonged high temperatures could cause people to get sick, experience heat stroke, and even lead to death, TVF&R and Washington County urge everyone to check on vulnerable groups more than once – a lesson learned from last year’s deadly heat dome.
“Checking on somebody once may not be enough,” Fitz said. “During the heat dome in 2021, we did see folks who got checked on once or twice over the course of the event and still suffered and unfortunately died.”
Recalling the deadly heatwave Myers said, “It wasn’t day-one where we started seeing the call volume pick up, it was day two and three, because it’s the prolonged exposure to heat that dehydrates the body, and then makes you more susceptible to symptoms or heatstroke.”