Environment & Science

Cooling centers in Riverside provide escape from SoCal heat; 6 tips to cope

Fifty-two cool centers in Riverside County are now open for people to escape the heat.
Fifty-two cool centers in Riverside County are now open for people to escape the heat.
Riverside University Health System - Public Health via Facebook

This weekend will bring scorching temperatures to Southern California, and preparations are underway. Fifty-two cooling centers in Riverside County opened Wednesday to provide a temporary refuge from the heat. 

The drop-in sites were scheduled to open June 15, but the heat advisory prompted the county to move up the date, Riverside University Health System's Jose Arballo told KPCC.

The cooling centers will offer water, snacks and plenty of shade for people who find themselves affected by the weather. According to Arballo, $30,000 was spent this year on the centers; the funding came from a combination of community service grants and funds from Regional Access Project, a non-profit organization.

Some of the hubs are at senior citizen centers, he said, but should have a separate area designated for the general public. Some libraries, churches and community centers will also be temporarily converted. A few select facilities will also provide care for animals, he said.

Arballo stressed the need for people to stay hydrated as summer approaches. 

“Sometimes people, when they’re out there, don’t even realize that they’re in need of hydration,” he said.

Southern Californians are no stranger to warmer temperatures, but since this is the first big heat wave of the year, he said even people who are used to it will be hit hard. 

Arballo recommends following these tips to navigate the heat wave: 

  1. Drink lots of water.
  2. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  3. If you have outside pets, make sure they have fresh water and shade. 
  4. Do your yard work before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. 
  5. Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose clothing. 
  6. Take a cool shower or bath. 
  7. Pay special attention to children, the elderly and disabled, as they are more susceptible to hot weather.

For a full list of cooling centers in Riverside County, click here.