Athol offers cooling centers amid hot streak

  • The Athol Senior Center at 82 Freedom St. STAFF FILE PHOTO

For the Athol Daily News 
Published: 9/6/2023 5:40:14 PM
Modified: 9/6/2023 5:40:17 PM

ATHOL — While no official heatwave — three consecutive days of temps in the 90s — is in store for North Quabbin, forecasters say highs for the next four days or so are expected to be in the low to upper 80s, with steadily increasing humidity. As such, the town is opening several cooling centers. 

Daytime highs won’t drop below 80 again until Sunday. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those most susceptible to heat-related problems include infants and children up to four years of age, as well as people 65 years of age and older, who are overweight, and those who are ill or on certain medications. Others vulnerable to heat-realated issues include athletes and outdoor workers, workers who wear protective clothing such as firefighters, and those who work in hot indoor environments with poor ventilation, such as kitchen or laundry workers.

The town has identified several locations where those who need a break from the heat can find temporary relief during the hottest times of the day. Sites include the Athol Senior Center (82 Freedom St.), Athol Salvation Army (107 Ridge Ave.), North Quabbin Community Coalition (251 Exchange St.), Athol Public Library (568 Main St.), Athol Area YMCA (545 Main St.), North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce (80 Freedom St.) and Valuing Our Children (217 Walnut St.). In addition to providing a place to cool off, some locations will also provide water. Contact each site for specific hours of availability.

In addition to limiting outdoor activity to the coolest hours of the day and resting in shady areas, information provided by the Athol Health Department also suggests wearing sunscreen. The CDC says sunburn can affect the body’s ability to cool down and also hasten dehydration. If outdoor activities can’t be avoided during hot weather one should wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat and, 30 minutes before going out, apply a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher. The CDC recommends looking for the words “broad spectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection” on the label.

Infants, children and/or pets should never be left in parked cars even with windows slightly open. When exiting a vehicle, operators should make sure everyone is out of the vehicle and not overlook any youngsters who may have fallen asleep in the car.

The National Weather Service says the temperature in a vehicle will reach 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) in 25 minutes when the outdoor temperature is only 73 degrees. At 84 degrees, the interior of a vehicle can reach about 112 in just 20 minutes. 

Other tips: Avoid hot and heavy meals; they add heat to your body. Drink plenty of fluids; don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. If taking water pills, ask a physician how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Avoid alcoholic drinks or drinks that are high in sugar; they can dehydrate you. Make sure to provide plenty of water for pets and leave pets and water in a shady area.

Finally, remember there are different symptoms for exhaustion and heat stroke. Symptoms for heat exhaustion: weakness and severe fatigue, feeling dizzy or light-headed, nausea and/or vomiting, fainting (with recovery), and unusually heavy sweating.

Symptoms for heat stroke include loss of consciousness, disorientation, confusion/not making sense, slurred or garbled speech, hallucinations, and seizures.

In the case of heat exhaustion, get to a cool place as soon as possible, remove unnecessary clothing, cool off with a wet towel/fan/ice packs, and elevate your legs if you are feeling faint or have fainted. If symptoms are not improved after a half-hour, get medical attention.

If experiencing the symptoms of heat stroke, call 911. Next, move the person to a cool, dry place, remove unnecessary clothing, douse them with cool water or hose them down, or place them in ice or a cold-water bath if possible.

E-Edition & Local Ads


athol forecast

Social Media

Athol Daily News

14 Hope Street,
Greenfield, MA 01301
Telephone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.