The city's 11 cooling centers are already open each day from 2:30 to 10 pm. But when temperatures hit 105 or higher the emergency plan will kick in which means the cooling centers will extend their hours from noon to 10 pm and FAX buses will provide free rides to the cooling centers. And when temperatures reach 110 or higher the city pools will be available for free.
Last year about 5,000 people used Fresno's cooling centers and the park's and recreation director, Randy Cooper expects that number to spike this year. "The heat this summer may be a bigger emergency than the past because of the rising cost of energy and food."
Reiner Streib said, "If we feel the need that we have to modify that we monitor every single day. We send emails out as to how many people were in our centers how many were using the bus system; it's a very precise process." Merced's city manager said the city won't open its cooling center until it's 105 degrees but the city of Visalia says it's cooling center will be open this Friday through Sunday from 6 am to 10 pm.
As for PG & E, the power company's spokesperson, Jeff Smith said it's also gearing up for the year's first heat wave. "We're going to make sure we're on the ready for this weekend in terms of having our staffing levels up, making sure crews are ready and on-call and ready to respond over the weekend."
Fresno city leaders know people are already stretched financially and want to provide some electric bill relief by offering these services to residents.
Fresno Cooling Centers Information
California Office of Emergency Services
California Department of Public Health