It’s day four of the first eight-day stretch of expected extreme heat this summer that is affecting not only Philadelphia, but also the city’s suburbs.
With temperatures reaching above 95 degrees, the National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for southeastern Pennsylvania until 8 p.m. Thursday. Montgomery County issued a “Code Red” declaration through Thursday, and Bucks County’s excessive heat warning has been extended through Sunday evening.
The counties have opened cooling centers for seniors, unhoused people, and anyone else in need of respite.
According to Bucks County officials, this is the county’s first Excessive Heat declaration under a plan developed by county Emergency Services and the Health Department.
To find local cooling centers, residents can call 2-1-1, the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania call center. The line is open 24/7. Residents can also text their zip code to 898-211.
A list of extreme heat cooling centers can be found on the United Way website.
Some amenities at the cooling centers may be offered on location, including food and water. The line will also assist unhoused people to find more long-term shelter.
“We do a screening with them to determine the kind of services they may be eligible for,” said Cinda Watkins, senior director for United Way 211. “And we get them rooted in the county’s homeless information management systems to the proper programs that they’re eligible for.”
Watkins said 2-1-1 can also help connect residents who are struggling to pay electricity bills with the right resources that may be able to help, like the Emergency Rent and Utilities programs for Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Your Way Home in Montgomery County has also alerted its outreach teams to disperse water and information on cooling stations. According to Kayleigh Silver, administrator for Your Way Home, their housing resource centers are also told to use philanthropic funds to ensure Montco residents have fans and air conditioning units in their homes.
Delaware County has a 2022 emergency heat plan, and a 24-hour Emergency Heat Information Line is now active through the summer: 610-872-1558. Senior residents can also call the heat line for information about receiving a fan from a local senior center.
Chester County seniors who do not have air conditioning can visit a local Senior Center to cool down. Seniors that are in need of assistance during a Code Red can call the Department of Aging at 610-344-6350.
During the Bucks County excessive heat warning, the following cooling centers will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
Riegelsville Borough Hall
615 Easton Road
Riegelsville, PA 18077
Morrisville Senior Service Center
31 E. Cleveland Avenue
Morrisville, PA 19067
YMCA of Bucks County– Warminster Branch
624 York Road
Warminster, PA 18974
YMCA of Bucks County – Fairless Hills Branch
601 S. Oxford Valley Road
Fairless Hills, PA 19030
Bristol Borough Senior Center
301 Wood Street, Bristol, PA 19007
Other senior centers throughout Bucks County are also open daily to residents 55 and over.
Municipalities or nonprofit agencies interested in participating in the future can contact Bucks County Emergency Services.
WHYY is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.