ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis city health director Pam Walker held a special all-staff meeting Monday morning to discuss their response to the current heat wave, and KMOX News was there.
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“Where we are currently is under a heat advisory,” Walker advised employees during the session. “The National Weather Service triggers where we are based on the temperature. It’s an advisory because it still cools down at night to the 70’s. As long as you cool down to below 80 degrees at night, it gives the bricks and outside ambient temperature time to cool down.”
She says the next level would be a “Heat Warning”, reached when an area experiences a heat index, or “feels-like” temperature, of 110 or more degrees for three consecutive days.
“When that starts happening, we’ve seen it year-after-year, after about three days we start seeing seniors die,” Walker noted, adding that the last time a heat warning was in effect for the St. Louis region was during a period of lengthy, widespread power outages in the summer of 2006.
She warns residents that it’s especially important to check on elderly family, friends and neighbors when it starts getting this hot.
And she says the best way to do that is by visiting them in person.
“Don’t just call them, because if you call and say ‘Mom, are you okay?, they’ll say ‘Yes’,” Walker said. “If you say ‘Mom, do you have your air conditioner on?’, they’ll say ‘Yes’, but they’re trying to save that $30 a week cost.”
She also says people are often afraid to leave their windows open at night, inadvertently creating an oven-like effect inside their home.
So far, a dozen heat-related illnesses have been treated at St. Louis-area hospital emergency rooms, and there have no reported deaths related to the extreme temperatures.
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