Free cooling stations in Richmond County to help you beat the heat

RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Mattie Mitchells works out nearly every day at May Park.

"When it's extremely hot, I can come in here and run around the gym and do my jogging," she said.

With temperatures creeping towards 100 degrees, outside is where she doesn't want to be.

"If I was out in the heat, right now I wouldn't be able to do it. Matter of fact, it's too hot to be out there. Even drinking water, you can eventually end up with a heat stroke," advised Mitchell.

The recreational facility is one of the county's 10 cooling stations. Now that summer is upon us, heat-related illnesses, like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash can turn deadly. Fire officials advise you look out for the symptoms.

"You're sweating, you have clammy palms, you're overheated, exhausted," said Michael Meyers, Augusta Fire Department spokesperson.

This could indicate very high body temperatures, which can damage the brain or other vital organs.

In severe cases, this can lead to multiple organ failure and death.

Craig Patillar is the program coordinator for May Park's rec center. He said between 10 to 20 people enjoy the facility every day. Just last week, a local family came in to take shelter from the sun.

"One family came in and they were just exhausted. Basically, thank God we were set up for this shelter for them to cool down," said Craig Patillar, program coordinator.

Children, pregnant women, older adults, emergency responders, people who work outside and athletes are at risk for heat-related illnesses.

People with certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and respiratory disease are also at a greater risk to get sick. To prevent that, you want to stay hydrated, limit your time outdoors and dress in loose-fitting clothing.

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