City of Fresno urging Gov. Newsom for approval to open cooling centers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- When triple digits hit, the City of Fresno flips the switch to lower the temperatures with cooling centers for residents who struggle with finding relief from the extreme heat.

But in the age of the coronavirus, city leaders must ask for permission to open the doors to air conditioning.

Community centers are considered Phase 3 to the State's reopening timeline.

Over the weekend, the city sent Gov. Gavin Newsom a waiver requesting to reopen its community centers sooner with specific adjustments

"On a temporary basis, be able to open up those cooling centers to the public again on a limited basis with all the social distancing and health and safety protocols," says Mark Standriff, Director of Communications for the City of Fresno.

Should that request be denied, the city is looking toward another alternative -- cooling tents outfitted with swamp coolers and a water mist system. But pitching tents could present other problems.

"It would also severely limit the number of people we could have in those tents because normally in a cooling center, we could easily fit 50 to 100 people without social distancing," Standriff said.

Others will venture outside regardless of the heat, oftentimes, leading to emergencies.

"Properly hydrate the night before and try to avoid consuming alcohol and caffeine products, which are going to dehydrate the body," says Fresno City Fire Batt. Chief Bob Camp.

Fresno City Fire recommends drinking 32 ounces for every 2 hours of work and avoiding canals that may look inviting.

"You don't want to have to meet with the fire department in a situation due to a bad choice," Camp said.

The city will soon learn if its cooling centers will reopen. When it does, it will provide the public with facial coverings.
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