Valley Residents in Search of Cooling Relief

June 29, 2009 10:23:59 PM PDT
The 100 degree heat is making it difficult for people to work, play, and in some cases, even breathe outside.                  |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

There are 12 pools open free to the public when temperatures are expected to hit 105 degrees. Valley residents have their ways of staying cool but the city wants to make sure everyone is healthy this summer.

As the sun cooks the Valley floor harmful ozone in the air builds up which is bad news for residents' health.

Janelle Schneider said, "There's no atmospheric movement to clean that out so the levels remain pretty high."

Janelle Schneider with the Valley Air District says this heat is bringing the first red flag days seen in months. That's bad news for farm workers who work in direct sunlight but field supervisors are looking out for them.

"We're coming in earlier like 5:30 and then we get out before the heat gets really bad."

Residents are encouraged to stay inside but many try to escape the utility bills that rise when the mercury goes up.

"Sometimes it's so hot you can't be anywhere. Gotta look for places like this to refresh yourself," said Sugi Guerrero.

This is the fourth year Fresno city pools, cooling centers and bus rides to these resources are free. A $15-k donation from PG&E made it possible for the city to provide this service.

Heather Heinks said, "Especially given the budgets are tight and we're trying to make services last. this certainly helps."

When temperatures increase emergency responders in Fresno County also expect an increase in calls.

"Responded to at least 139 breathing calls for service in the last 72 hours and that's up by roughly a third compared to last week," said Ken Shockley.

Still many residents are willing to risk exposure to the heat ... arming themselves with umbrella, water or short sleeves.

Based on weather forecasts the city will continue to operate the cooling centers until Thursday evening.

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