SURVIVING THE HEAT: List of Chicago area cooling centers | Tips to stay safe in dangerous heat
The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for Cook, DeKalb, DuPage Grundy, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, McHenry and Will counties in Illinois and Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties in Indiana until 7 p.m. Saturday.
The heat can turn dangerous quickly. Lincolnwood firefighters and police were called to Lincolnwood Town Center mall after a 6-month-old boy was left inside a car for at least 10 minutes. The child's mother was outside the vehicle and told authorities she had accidentally locked her keys inside as it wasn't the car she regularly drives.
Firefighters tried but were unable to unlock the car with their tools and without greatly damaging the vehicle, so they called a towing company that was able to unlock it.
The temperature inside the car was 112 degrees, authorities said.
The baby was taken to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston to be evaluated as a precaution but was expected to be okay.
The high temperature forecast for Friday was 98 degrees, with heat indices from 100 to 114 degrees. The low temperature at O'Hare Friday morning was 81 degrees, which would be a record for highest low temperature for July 19 as long as temperatures do not dip below 78 degrees before midnight.
There are a lot of outdoor events happening this weekend in the Chicago area. At least one event was canceled due to the extreme heat: The Rock N Roll 5K, slated for 7:30 Saturday morning, was canceled Friday evening, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
Other major events in the area have or are planning to press on and are reminding attendees to stay safe and hydrated.
The bleachers at Wrigley Field still filled up Friday, despite their direct exposure to the sun.
"The heat makes me stronger, it makes the Cubs stronger, so bring it on, that's what I say," said Kevin Basik, a Cubs fan. "Anybody playing the Cubs, they wither under heat like this."
The Cubs took precautions to make sure that fans wouldn't be the ones to wither.
"We have water that's available at all our concession stands as well as our cooling stations and we have ice packs available too," said Alyson Cohen, a public relations manager for the Cubs.
Fan Chante Carter appreciated the efforts.
"It's good because I know that they were looking out for us, cooling us off and making sure we are enjoying the game," she said.
The Pitchfork Music Festival was also stepping up efforts to keep concertgoers cool as the festival kicked off in Union Park.
"So as soon as we walked in there's a whole bucket of water and I think a lot of festivals will monetize water and make you pay for it so that's really cool to have going in," said Jeffrey Habgood, a Pitchfork attendee.
Sima Cunningham, director of marketing for the festival, said they'll also be pushing out tips on how to stay cool this weekend and allowing music fans to bring their own refillable water bottles to stay hydrated.
Food truck staff at the festival were not able to escape the heat, however.
"It's super hot. It's about 130 degrees in there right now," said Turon Cummings, the chef at the Bull Grill.
Cummings said one staffer started shaking because she was so overheated.
"We put some cold packs on top of her and told her to kind of relax," he said.
As part of the city's efforts to make sure the most vulnerable residents are safe, the Department of Family and Support Services plans to host a series of wellness checks and outreach to let people know about the resources available. That includes city-operated facilities like pools, senior and cooling centers.
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"The City of Chicago is coordinating its resources and services to help keep Chicagoans safe from the dangerous heat conditions over the next several days," said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. "As always, OEMC will continue to monitor weather conditions, large-scale events and is prepared to activate plans and alert the public should a situation warrant."
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DFSS says it plans to extend its hours at the city's six cooling centers from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. To locate a cooling center, residents can call 311. The Garfield Center at 10 S. Kedzie will be open 24 hours. Other city facilities including Chicago Public Library locations, Chicago Police Department stations, Chicago Park District field houses, DFSS Community Service Centers and DFSS Senior Centers are serving as cooling centers.
Officer Fitzpatrick from @ChicagoCAPS19 highlighted the importance of staying cool in the extreme heat and the best way to find your local cooling center.— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) July 19, 2019
Need to find your closest cooling center? Dial 311 or wave down an Officer to find the closest cooling center.#CPDMediaCar pic.twitter.com/obHsgjNN0N
Residents are also asked to check on relatives, neighbors and friends. Requests for well-being checks can be made by downloading the CH311 app, at 311.chicago.gov or by calling 311.
"I have some elderly parents and am trying to warn them to stay cool and hopefully the AC kicks in," said Joe Visaya. "I also have a dog, so they have to be careful as well."
At the Brookfield Zoo, animals were given ice treats and blocks of ice to keep them cool. Animals including polar bears, grizzly bears, sloth bears, Amur bears and even the rhino got icy treats filled with either fruits and veggies or meat and bones depending on their diets. Some of the outdoor habitats, like the habitat for the reindeers, had their water misters turned on so the animals can cool off, the zoo said.
Animals including the bears and big cats are also given access to their indoor quarters so they can cool down inside if they choose, the zoo said.
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For those without air conditioning, Cook County is keeping courthouses in Skokie, Rolling Meadows, and Bridgeview open through Saturday night.
At 5:30 p.m. Friday, Com Ed said there was an outage on the city's Southwest Side affecting about 546 customers in the area of the 6400 block of South Kedvale Avenue. The outage was expected to be resolved by 6:45 p.m.
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Heat can affect the roads as well. The Illinois Tollway is deploying its Hot Weather Patrols to help stranded drivers. IDOT is cautioning motorists to watch out for pavement buckling from the heat.
"The hottest week of the year means the potential for pavement failures will increase," said Acting Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. "At IDOT, we will have the necessary staffing and materials in place to make repairs as quickly as possible. We ask the public to stay alert and avoid driving over buckled roads, if possible, while giving our crews plenty of room to work."
Buckling pavement can be reported to IDOT by calling (800) 452-4368 or by reaching out to law enforcement via 911.
The beach may also be a good option, but some doctors recommend people stay indoors between noon and 6 p.m.
Friday morning, families were taking advantage of the Crown Fountain, putting their feet in in the water and enjoying the cloud cover, including one family from Cleveland.
"We are pretty used to the humidity," said Jennifer Wolfert. "Yes, it is very humid here and we just thought we'd bring them here to cool off a little bit before the sun is above the buildings."
"I love being warm," said McKenzie Embacher. "Yeah, we're going to the museums so we won't be outside all day."
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Some are welcoming the high temperatures.
"It's a perfect day," said runner Dan Sarmas. "You don't have to shovel sunshine. The snow in this Chicago area is the worst, so any day like this, you pray for around January."
People got to the beach early to exercise, avoiding the peak hours between noon and 6 p.m.
"Got in the water at 5 in the morning before the sun was up, so it's a bit cold, so I'm hoping that will keep me cool for the rest of the day," said tri-athlete Sterling Smith.
An Excessive Heat Watch means that a prolonged period of high temperatures is expected. The combination of high temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids...stay in an air-conditioned room...stay out of the sun...and check up on relatives and neighbors. Take extra precautions...if you work or spend time outside. When possible...reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water. To reduce risk during outdoor work...the occupational safety and health administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency...call 9-1-1.
An Excessive Heat Warning means that a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures will occur. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are likely. Drink plenty of fluids...stay in an air-conditioned room...stay out of the sun... and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.
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