To give the needy relief from the heat, the Salvation Army has set up 15 cooling stations across the Metroplex, including one in Waxahachie.

The other sites include four in Dallas, two in Fort Worth and one each in Arlington, Irving, Garland, Denton, Plano, McKinney, Lewisville and Pleasant Grove.

ďWhen itís extremely hot, itís the poor and elderly who suffer the most,Ē a spokesman said. ďMany donít have air conditioning or, if they do, they canít afford to run it because it will make their utility bills too high.Ē

Each of the Salvation Army centers has a cooling station sign in front of the building to notify people that it is a place where they can find heat relief.

Each cooling station offers:

A cool place to stay during hot daytime hours Ice-cold water to help people stay hydrated Survival tips for hot temperatures Free electric fans

Social workers are also on hand to meet with those who need financial assistance to help pay utility bills during this time of excessive high heat.

Each of the centers is also accepting donations of electric fans to help additional people when supplies run out.

Cooling stations providing relief from the summer heat will operate at the following Salvation Army locations during normal business hours through Aug. 31.

These locations are not shelters available for overnight accommodations, but are facilities offering air conditioning and water during periods of extreme heat.

The following are cooling stations:

Waxahachie

620 Farley St.

Waxahachie 75165

(972) 937-7727

Dallas

Parkland Hospital Area

5302 Harry Hines Blvd.

Dallas 75235

(214) 424-7000

Love Field Area

6500 Harry Hines Blvd.

Dallas 75235

(214) 956-6025

Oak Cliff

1617 W. Jefferson

Dallas 75208

(214) 941-5911 or 5914

East Oak Cliff

1007 Hutchins Road

Dallas 75203

(214) 941-7404

Pleasant Grove

8341 Elam Road

Dallas 75217

(214) 398-6619

Denton

1508 E. McKinney St.

Denton 76201

(940) 566-3800

Garland

451 W. Ave. D

Garland 75040

(972) 272-4531

Irving

250 E. Grauwyler Road

Irving 75061

(972) 438-6553

Lewisville

207 Elm St.

Lewisville 75067

(972) 353-9400

McKinney

600 Wilson Creek Pkwy.

McKinney 75069

(972) 542-6694

Plano

3528 E. 14th

Plano 75074

(972) 423-8254

Arlington

712 W. Abram

Arlington 76013

(817) 860-1836

Fort Worth

1855 E. Lancaster Ave.

Fort Worth 76103

(817) 344-1811

North Fort Worth

3023 N.W. 24th St.

Fort Worth 76106

(817) 624-3111 or 1637

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, extreme heat can create serious health problems.

The elderly, the very young, people with chronic diseases and those without access to air conditioning are those most likely to suffer in extremely hot weather. Children can quickly become dehydrated.

Check on children often, especially if they are playing outside in high temperatures. Staying in an air-conditioned area, either at home or in a public place such as a mall, library or recreation center is the most effective way to combat heat. If air conditioning is not available, open the windows, pull the shades down to keep out the sun and use cross-ventilation and fans to cool rooms.

Additional heat precautions

Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle in hot weather, even for a short time. Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid drinks with alcohol, caffeine or a lot of sugar. Donít wait until you are thirsty. Start drinking fluids at least 30 minutes before going out. Plan strenuous outdoor activity for early morning or evening when the temperature is lower. Take frequent breaks when working outside. Wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher, wide-brimmed hats and light-colored, loose-fitting clothes. Eat more frequently, but be sure meals are well balanced, cool and light. Dress infants and children in cool, loose clothing. Shade their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella. Check frequently on the elderly, the ill and others who may need help. Adjust to the environment. A sudden change in temperature - an early heat wave or travel to a hotter climate - will be stressful to the body. Limit physical activity until you become accustomed to the heat. Check with a doctor about the effects of sun and heat when taking prescription drugs, especially diuretics or antihistamines. The body normally cools down by sweating. But under some conditions, sweating is not enough. The bodyís temperature may rise rapidly to dangerous levels, leading to the possibility of heat illness or death. A combination of high temperatures and high humidity especially can cause this natural cooling system to work overtime. When humidity is high, sweat may not evaporate efficiently, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. The stress of hard physical activity, fatigue, dehydration, heart disease, obesity, poor circulation, sunburn and prescription drug and alcohol use also contribute to heat-related health problems.

Symptoms of heat illness include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, nausea, weak but rapid pulse and headaches.

People with these symptoms should find shade, drink water slowly and make sure there is good ventilation. If fluids are not replaced soon enough, heat stroke can follow causing extremely high body temperature, red and dry skin, rapid pulse, confusion, brain damage, loss of consciousness and death.

To help a person showing severe symptoms, get the victim into shade, call for emergency medical services and start cooling the person immediately with cool water or by fanning.

Prevention is the best defense against heat-related illness. Staying cool, drinking plenty of fluids, wearing cool clothing and monitoring outdoor activities are essential to staying healthy in hot weather.

On the Internet:

www.salvationarmydfw.org