GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

June 26, 2013

'Cooling' sites outlined for beating the heat

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — Cape Ann has only been officially enjoying summer for a few days.

Yet there have already been a number of people shipped to Addison Gilbert Hospital for heat stroke and heat related problems.

Although rain and thunderstorms are expected to shower Cape Ann throughout the rest of the week according to the National Weather Service, Monday and Tuesday proved to be too much for some beach goers.

One Long Beach visitor was transported from the Rockport side of the beach at 4:20 p.m. Monday for heat stroke, police said. Others have been transported from Gloucester’s Good Harbor Beach, according to police reports.

In order to combat the heat waves, Cape Ann communities are urging people to take the proper precautions.

As always, the best ways to stay safe are to dress appropriately, stay in the coolest place you can, and drink plenty of water.

Other ways to stay cool include eating properly, as meats and proteins can increase water loss, and limiting the use of alcohol or caffeine, according to Noreen Burke, Gloucester’s Public Health Director.

“It really makes a difference,” she said. “I’d also like to urge people to slow down and take frequent breaks,”

Anyone in the city looking to cool off can head to the Sawyer Free Library or to the Rose Baker Senior Center, Burke said, noting that both have air conditioning.

Mayor Carolyn Kirk said that, in general, the city does not operate a designated cooling center unless requests have been made or a heat wave exceeds three days.

“The chances are, we probably won’t,” she said, noting that at least some break toward cooler temperatures is expected late today, and into the rest of the week.

Pavilion shut down

Those hoping to cool off at Pavilion Beach Tuesday and early today, however, will have to make other plans; the city of Gloucester closed the beach to swimming after sewers overflowed in the wake of Monday night’s heavy rains.

City officials said the pummeling rain Monday evening triggered a “combined sewer overflow event,” and they closed the beach as a precautionary measure Tuesday morning before any test results even became available.

Results of water samples taken later Tuesday are expected to be known by morning, and the city could reopen the beach to swimming if the tests prove clear of bacteria. Residents, however, are advised that if they choose to swim at Pavilion Beach, it is at their own risk.

Town cooling centers

Rockport, meanwhile, has set up a designated cooling station for anyone looking to beat the heat; anyone there is welcome to stop by the Rockport Police station throughout the day, today through Friday, or visit the Senior Center Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the town’s Community House.

Manchester Fire Chief Glenn Rodgers said the First Baptist Church on School Street is set aside as a cooling station to get out of the sun, but nobody had needed it as of late Tuesday.

“We have them on alert if needed,” he said.

In Essex, Board of Health Administrator Eliane Wozny also said nobody is seeking out a cooling center just yet.

She said anyone there who needs those services should call the Board of Health at 978-768-7614 or the Senior Center on Pickering Street at 978-768-7932.

While the rain expected later this week will hold off the sun, it caused flooding in the areas of Maplewood Avenue, Washington Street, Prospect Street, Eastern Avenue as well as Commercial Street Monday, according to police reports.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.