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Heat’s Still On: Health Officials Say Don’t Let Your Guard Down

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7/13/12-St. Louis mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley record public service announcements Friday to remind the public that the heat threat continues and to keep checking on those most at risk for heat-related illnesses. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

7/13/12-St. Louis mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley record public service announcements Friday to remind the public that the heat threat continues and to keep checking on those most at risk for heat-related illnesses. (KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOX) –  County executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis mayor Francis Slay literally rubbed elbows Friday as they stood side-by-side at a microphone, recording public service announcements to remind everyone that the threat from the heat is far from over.

“If you are a senior over 65 and you live alone…,” Dooley began.

“And you’re worried about paying your electric bill this month…,” Slay intoned.

“Turn on the air…regardless,” Dooley concluded.

Later, the county executive says we’ve seen time and again that seniors refuse to turn on the air-conditioning even on the hottest days of the year for fear of running up their electric bills.

This often ends up having tragic consequences as officials later find the bodies of heat victims inside sweltering homes in which the AC was operational but turned off to save money.

After wrapping up the PSA session, Dooley said it’s up to everybody to make sure that this message gets out to those who especially need to hear it — seniors and shut-ins.

“We need to check on our seniors,” he said. “Whether it’s a family member, or neighbors, or municipalities, the mailman. Somebody needs to check on these seniors on a daily basis.”

So far, a total of 18 people in the St. Louis region have died during this summer’s record-setting heat wave.

Members of the public are also still being urged to drop off new or slightly used air conditioners to any area Vatterott College and become eligible for a tax break.

Log onto www.cooldownstlouis.org for more information, or send donations to:

Cool Down St. Louis c/o UMB Bank P.O. Box 868 St. Louis MO 63188

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