A quick guide to keep Shamong residents cool in the hot weather

Shamong Township and Burlington County have a few tips to keep you safe during extremely hot weather.

When temperatures soar, turning your car into a sauna and the metal part of your seatbelt into a skillet, it’s important to stay safe. According to the county, high temperatures kill hundreds of people every year, with extreme heat causing more than 600 deaths. Don’t let these numbers scare you; heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, and your county, along with your town, has the advice to keep you safe. 

Cooling centers are designated areas in which residents can go to keep cool in hot weather. They can make up of libraries, shopping malls, recreation centers, senior centers and municipal buildings. Only designated areas decided through communication from the state and county are considered as such. Shamong doesn’t have any within its town, but for a short drive, residents can find themselves in the county’s nine different designated cooling centers. 

The closest cooling center to Shamong is the Pinelands Branch Library, located in Medford. In fact, many of the county’s cooling centers are part of the Burlington County Library Branch, which are held in Evesham, Pemberton, Bordentown, Cinnaminson, Maple Shade, Riverton, and their main branch in Westampton. 

When temperatures soar it is customary that the county government will make an effort to alert their residents by posting information about the opening of cooling centers on their county website, according to the county. The site also offers alert notifications, information about how to sign-up to receive email notifications during times of emergency events and announcements about government closings. 

“Shamong recommends that residents check on each other and especially elderly, children or ill family, neighbors. Please close curtains to keep the heat of the sun from warming up rooms more than necessary. Remember to keep hydrated and to take care of your pets as well,” said Shamong’s Township Administrator Sue Onorato in an email. 

As the summer weather kicks into full gear, the county released a list of tips on how to stay cool and safe in hot weather.

According to the county’s health department, there are two main factors that affect your body’s ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather: high humidity and personal factors, such as age, obesity, fever, dehydration, heart disease, mental illness, poor circulation, sunburn, and prescription drug and alcohol use can all play a role.

Those who are at the highest risk include people 65 and older, children younger than 2, and people with chronic diseases or mental illness. Closely monitor people who depend on you for their care and ask these questions:

  • Are they drinking enough water?
  • Do they have access to air conditioning?
  • Do they need help keeping cool?

People at greatest risk for heat-related illness can take the following protective actions to prevent illness or death:

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible. Contact your local health department or locate an air-conditioned shelter in your area. Air-conditioning is the number one protective factor against heat-related illness and death. If a home is not air-conditioned, people can reduce their risk of heat-related illness by spending time in public facilities that are air-conditioned and using air conditioning in vehicles.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device during an extreme heat event.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Don’t use the stove or oven to cook – it will make you and your house hotter.

Even young and healthy people can get sick from the heat if they participate in strenuous physical activities during hot weather:

  • Limit outdoor activity, especially midday when the sun is hottest.
  • Wear and reapply sunscreen as indicated on the package.
  • Pace activity. Start activities slow and pick up the pace gradually.
  • Drink more water than usual and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more. Muscle cramping may be an early sign of heat-related illness.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

If you play a sport that practices during hot weather, protect yourself and look out for your teammates:

  • Schedule workouts and practices earlier or later in the day when the temperature is cooler.
  • Monitor a teammate’s condition, and have someone do the same for you.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you or a teammate has symptoms of heat-related illness.
  • Learn more about how to protect young athletes from heat-related illnesses by taking this CDC course.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent heat-related illnesses.

Everyone should take these steps to prevent heat-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths during hot weather:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned indoor location as much as possible.
  • Schedule outdoor activities carefully.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and sunscreen.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Take cool showers or baths to cool down.
  • Check on a friend or neighbor and have someone do the same for you.
  • Never leave children or pets in cars.
  • Check the local news for health and safety updates.

Be sure to visit CDC’s Hot Weather webpage for more hot weather safety tips.