COLUMBUS — Governor John Kasich on Saturday urged Ohio residents to check on their neighbors, family and friends after the heat-related deaths of three elderly people in Licking County.
“Check on those that you know and those that you love and help them out,” said Gov. Kasich in a news release. “If you see any problems, dial 911. It’s going to be brutally hot today – let’s stay focused.”
In fact, an Excessive Heat Warning remains active for much of northern Ohio.
As temperatures soared to record highs Friday, residents did their best to stay cool.
Odessa Childs Alexander, of Cleveland, and her family were forced to sit outside to try and cool off because they have no air conditioning, and it’s even hotter inside their west side home.
“I’ve never been to hell, I don’t know, but it’s really hot,” she said.
For Theresa Meadows, the heat and humidity are downright dangerous.
Thursday night, it triggered an asthma attack.
“I turned around, and I couldn’t breathe, and we had to call 911,” Meadows said, “I can’t remember everything because I was, like, out of it, due to the heat.”
Cleveland-area hospitals tell Fox 8 News they are all seeing people coming into emergency rooms with heat-related conditions, but most have been mild.
Jose Rodriguez said he couldn’t describe the heat as he walked home with bags of groceries mid-afternoon.
“Oh my God, it’s like ignorantly hot. There’s not a word to describe it, to be honest with you. It’s that hot,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s a scorcher,” said Walter Brown.
Brown has been homeless for six months, he said, and being stuck on the streets in the searing heat adds a lot of stress to an already tough life.
“Out here in the streets, and out here trying to survive and everything, it’s a problem. It’s hard,” Brown said.
Luckily, he found a place to cool off at The Salvation Army. In fact, several cities are offering cooling centers for residents, especially those without air-conditioning.
The American Red Cross of Portage and Summit Counties at 501 West Market Street in Akron, is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and in Cleveland, many recreation centers are offering residents relief from the heat.
The Ohio State Health Department says the best defense against heat-related problems is prevention.
Among those at highest risk for heat stroke or heat exhaustion are:
- Infants and children up to 4 years old.
- People 65 and older.
- People who are overweight.
- People who over-exert during work or exercise.
- People who are ill or on certain medications.
State officials advise to keep the following tips in mind when dealing with extreme heat:
- Drink Cool Fluids
- Monitor or Limit Outdoor Activities
- Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion
- Know the Signs of Heat Stroke
- Don’t Forget Your Pets
- Check on friends and neighbors
For additional tips on heat safety from the Ohio Department of Health, click HERE.
Residents without power can call their local 211 numbers for information and assistance, or dial 911 in an emergency.
*For a heat safety checklist from the American Red Cross, click HERE.