York County officials call for help publicizing cooling stations for hot weekend

YORK, Pa --- Officials are bracing for a weekend that will be, potentially, the hottest in years.

Mark Walter, public information officer for the county, said they're doing a "polite" call to action for any places planning to hold cooling stations to raise awareness for their efforts.

“We’re just hoping we can get as many [cooling stations] to publicize their presence and intentions so that people know where they can go if they need to," said Walters.

Walter said they don't usually have issues finding places with cooling stations available.

However, since the scorching temperatures are coming this weekend, he said it presents a "challenge" since senior centers are usually closed Saturday and Sunday.

He said a number of places are choosing not to open, citing a lack of need.

“We’re kind of thinking, "Well, if you don’t publicize that you’re available for people who need it, how could we possibly know how many people need it?” said Walters.

The September House on the 1200 block of West King Street in West York will be open throughout the weekend.

On Friday, they will hold extended hours past their usual 4 p.m. closing time, if there is a need.

On Saturday and Sunday, they will open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, staying open as late as 8 p.m. if there is a need.

However, Susan Jones, executive director of the September House, said in her 31-year experience, the cooling shelters they've offered have never been in-demand.

“Every summer, it gets hot and there are certain days we are asked if we will extend our hours. We are always very willing to do that, but nobody shows up to take advantage of it," said Jones.

Kathy Steidler, a volunteer at the senior center, said she believes the lack of interest comes from air conditioning and cooling fans being more readily accessible.

“I don’t think that there is quite as much of a need nowadays as there may have been, at one point,” said Steidler.

Jones said she believes places might be reluctant to open due to expenditures, such as electric bills or paying staff.

She said they are available to open because they can put a cooling shelter together.

“That’s just part of what we have kind of adapted with our mission which is we want to be here for whatever the community needs,” said Jones.

Walters said county emergency management is asking any organization planning to host a cooling shelter to contact them at (717) 840-2990.

Places planning to host cooling shelters in York County include:

  • Eastern York County Emergency Management Agency in Hellam Township
  • Lifepath Christian Ministries in York: 367 W. Market Street for men, 17 Jefferson Avenue for women
  • Red Lion Municipal Building: 11 E. Broadway
  • Friday July 19, 2019 – at the North York Borough Office located at 350 E 6th Ave, York PA. Between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm
  • Saturday July 20, 2019 and Sunday July 21, 2019 – at the Liberty Fire Company located at 160 E 8th Ave York PA. Between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm.
  • Susquehanna Valley EMS Hellam Township Station: 44 Walnut Springs Drive in York
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