Officials prepping for summer heat

Representatives from the township, county offer tips on how to keep cool

Summer, a season synonymous with trips to the beach and days spent poolside, has its fair share of hazards – namely the increasingly high temperatures. The county and municipality have tips and advice for beating the summer heat.

A lot of Gloucester County’s workings come from the office of emergency management, a department coordinated by Dennis McNulty. The office of emergency management trains and prepares to respond to or prevent all types of disasters ranging from natural to man-caused, including terroristic acts.

This includes heat waves, something that could affect the county.

“Standard recommendations are drink plenty of fluid, stay in an air-conditioned room,” he said. “If you work outdoors, try to limit time and take breaks. If you’re exercising or work involves strenuous activity, work in the morning or evening. Recognize the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, wear loose-fitting clothing. I can’t stress enough to cover yourself from the sun and drink plenty of fluids.”

The signs of heat stroke are a throbbing headache, dizziness or light-headedness, lack of sweating despite the heat, muscle weakness or cramps, nausea and vomiting, a rapid heartbeat either strong or weak and rapid or shallow breathing.

The office of emergency management monitors the National Weather Service website to receive data on the forecasts, if they recognize a heat wave and want to issue a heat advisory they will inform their colleagues in emergency management at the local level. From there, residents can check the Washington Township social media accounts and website, twp.washington.nj.us.

An added measure to combat the heat at the county level is offering free box fans to senior citizens. If interested, call (856) 384-6900 for more information or visit the division of senior services located at 115 Budd Blvd. in West Deptford.

At the local level, a cooling center for seniors is offered in town – the senior center located on Greentree Road. If a heat advisory is issued, seniors can visit the senior center to cool off and take advantage of an air-conditioned room. Cool drinks are also available to keep seniors hydrated.

Washington Township Police Department Capt. Ken Kennedy doubles as the public health correspondent for the township’s emergency management team. Kennedy believes acting as a community can be one of the key components in being safe in the sweltering heat.

“Stay hydrated, drink plenty of water,” he said. “We recommend family members check on their parents or elderly neighbors. Make sure they have working fans, things of that nature. The biggest thing is to stay in doors as much as possible, when it gets hot the air quality isn’t at it’s best.”

If an emergency occurs, Kennedy recommends dialing 9-1-1 or the local police. In the event of heat waves, Kennedy said the municipality will work with the office of emergency management or American Red Cross. For more information, email Kennedy at kjkennedy@pd.twp.washington.nj.us or visit the township’s website twp.washington.nj.us.

For more information on the office of emergency management, there is a Facebook page titled “Gloucester County Emergency Management.” The county offers a phone application residents can download called “Gloucester RU Ready” that posts the same information that goes to the Facebook page as well as sends alerts or notifications. When in doubt, visit the county website www.co.gloucester.nj.us.