CENTRAL VALLEY – With the valley in the grip of a brutal heatwave, local communities are doing their part to provide residents sanctuary from soaring temperatures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 700 people in the United States die each year from extreme heat. The forecast from the National Weather Service shows Fresno and Tulare counties recording successive days of 100-plus degree temperatures.
However, local cities are doing what they can to ensure residents have a place to escape the brutal summertime heat and cool off. Dustin Espino, battalion chief of the Dinuba Fire Department, said his city typically opens cooling centers when the temperatures hit triple digits.
“We have cooling centers at the recreation and transit centers,” Espino said. “Local businesses are helping. Even Walmart is offering shelter from heat.”
In Hanford, residents can beat the heat at the Longfield Center, which is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. The city is also offering free swim days at The Plunge, the city’s public pool, until July 23.
When the temperature hits 102 degrees or higher, the Kingsburg Senior Center opens its cooling center from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. After 5 p.m., residents can call a hotline to put them in touch with the fire department dispatch center. Residents can then make arrangements to go to Fire Station #2, which serves as an after-hours cooling center.
In Orange Cove, residents can flock to the senior center when temperatures reach 100 degrees or higher. The center is open each day from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Reedley’s cooling center is located at Sierra View Home in the Mineral King Room. Doors open at 1 p.m. and remain open until 8 p.m. when the temperature hits 104 degrees or higher.
On July 20, Joaquin Zamora, Sanger’s Recreation Supervisor, posted a flyer on the city’s website informing Sanger residents the cooling center in the Sanger Annex building will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. when temperatures reach 105 degrees or higher.
Selma residents can decamp to the cooling center in the Selma Police Department when temperatures hit 105 degrees or higher. The center is open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) and the Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency provide links to heat-related resources and information on their respective websites. FCDPH provides links to all cooling centers in the county.