At 5:18 p.m., the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors chairman ordered the OES to immediately begin organizing 10 county cooling centers, including one in Tracy at the Larch-Clover Community Center, 11157 W. Larch Road.
Sunday was one of several days above 100 degrees since Friday, June 28, as highs topped 106 degrees on Tuesday, July 2.
Dr. Cora Hoover, assistant health officer for San Joaquin County, said young and elderly, people working in the heat and low-income families who can’t afford air-conditioning are at risk to develop heat-related illnesses.
“Our goal really is to identify who the most at-risk folks in the county are and then figure out what are the agencies and organizations that are serving those folks,” Hoover said. “The most important thing to prevent heat illness is for the person to be in an air-conditioned place during the hottest hours of the day.”
David Durand, spokesman for American Medical Response, said the company had responded to two-dozen heat-related calls between Friday and Tuesday. Durand noted that any call can turn into a heat emergency when people are out in the sun.
Barry Bartlett, an EMT-paramedic with AMR, said he responded to a motorcyclist who passed out from heat exhaustion while riding on Interstate 580 on Tuesday.
“He should have been killed instantly, should have been run over by 10 cars,” Bartlett said.
The symptoms of heat illness can be dangerous, according to Bartlett.
“Your kidneys and everything start to cook. It’s very life threatening,” he said. “At that point, we’re breaking out our bottled waters, just pouring them on the patient.”
Hoover said signs of heat illness include weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness or nausea. People should call 911 if they notice these signs in themselves or others.
“If someone is having mild symptoms like that, basically what they need to do is cool down and drink water, as long as the water isn’t making them feel more nauseated,” Hoover said. “Then ,if the person has persistent vomiting, confusion, a high body temperature or loss of consciousness, those may be signs of heat stroke.”
The doctor said electric fans aren’t good options to cool an overheated person.
“If the temperature of the air is very high, like above 98 or 100 degrees, putting an electric fan on the person isn’t really going to help,” she said. “You’re just blowing the air that’s hotter than their body temperature over them.”
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