Health officials in Washington County say plan to beat the heat
With high temperatures forecast up to 112 degrees or more this weekend, Washington County is advising residents to make plans to keep cool and "check in" with family, friends and neighbors to make sure they are safe from the intense heat.
Many homes in the Portland area have air conditioning, but many — especially older houses, condominiums and apartments — do not. Washington County officials encourage residents who don't have air conditioning at home to spend as much time as possible in an air-conditioned space.
Cooling centers in Washington County (map available here) include but are not limited to:
• Wingspan Event & Conference Center, 801 N.E. 34th Ave. in Hillsboro. Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, June 26 through June 28.
• Cathy Stanton Meeting Room at the Beaverton City Library, 12375 S.W. Fifth St. in Beaverton. Open 6-8 p.m. Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27, and 7-9 p.m. Monday, June 28.
• Juanita Pohl Center, 8513 S.W. Tualatin Road in Tualatin. Open 1-7 p.m. Saturday, June 26; 1-7 p.m. Sunday, June 27; and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday, June 28.
• Boys & Girls Aid Safe Place for Youth, 454 S.E. Washington St. in Hillsboro. Open for anyone ages 12-20. Only three drop-in youth at a time will be accommodated to allow for physical distancing.
Libraries are typically open during the day — in addition to the evening hours at the Beaverton Library — and provide comfortable and air-conditioned spaces for community members to enjoy. Addresses and open hours for library buildings can be found at the Washington County Cooperative Library Services website.
Additionally, the Washington County Department of Health and Human Services highlights indoor shopping malls, movie theaters, and other indoor entertainment and dining venues as good places for residents to spend time during the heat of the day, if they don't have air conditioning at home.
The county also offers advice for people at home or outdoors during the heat:
• Avoid using fans as your primary cooling device especially when it gets extremely hot inside. Instead, mist yourself with a spray bottle, and then use the fan to get the cooling benefits of evaporation.
• Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty. Water is best. Limit sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol.
• Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
• Exercise in the early morning when it's cooler.
• Avoid strenuous activity in the heat of the day.
• Take cool showers or baths.
• Close your blinds and curtains to keep sunlight out.
• Keep an eye on the temperature, and open your windows late at night or first thing in the morning to let some cooler air in. Then close up again to keep the cooler air inside.
• Get a baby pool or play in a sprinkler. Many splash pads and spraygrounds that offer relief from the heat are not operating due to the chlorine shortage currently impacting the region. Check this website for local availability.
• Avoid using your stove/oven or doing laundry.
• Eat small, light meals.
• Never leave children or pets in cars.
• Wear a lifejacket and take other safety precautions in rivers and lakes. More information on water safety is available on the Red Cross website.
Disability, Aging and Veteran Services has a limited supply of free electric fans for individuals ages 60 and older in Washington County. Call 503-846-3060.
Residents should also learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue advises. Read our previous article for more information.
Editor's note: This story will be updated with more information on ways to beat the heat as it becomes available.
By Mark Miller
Editor-in-Chief, Washington and Columbia counties
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