City to Continue Cooling Centers for 2009
05/19/2009

Sunday’s unseasonable hot weather provided the City of Fresno with an early test of its Emergency Cooling Center activation plan. 2009 will mark the fourth year in which the City will provide an opportunity for residents to get a respite from extreme heat.

The City activates cooling centers around Fresno when the morning National Weather Service forecast indicates a high temperature of 105 degrees or more. When the forecast is below 105 degrees, City officials monitor conditions throughout the day and may call for activation at any time if urgent public health and safety issues arise. Additionally, the City is working closely with the National Weather Service (NWS) to ensure that the publicly advertised forecast is consistent with the forecast used to determine cooling center status.

Sunday’s National Weather Service forecast predicted a high of 104 degrees, with temperatures remaining at or below that level throughout most of the day. Although Fresno’s temperature ultimately rose to 106 degrees in the late afternoon, the conditions did not create an urgent health or safety issue for the citizens of Fresno.

“Fresno’s cooling center plan is designed to help protect the public from the dangers of extreme heat,” said City spokesman Randy Reed. “The plan’s flexibility allows the City to respond appropriately to conditions as they develop on a single day or over a period of days.”

As needed, the City may activate up to 10 cooling centers throughout the City, which will remain open until 9pm. In addition, the City’s FAX bus system will provide free transportation along normal routes to and from cooling center sites. To ride free, residents must notify the bus driver that they are traveling to a cooling center location

Fresno’s cooling centers are made possible through the generous support of Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which is providing a $15,000 grant to help offset the cost of providing the service in 2009.

“The City of Fresno truly appreciates the support we receive from PG&E for the continued operation of our cooling centers,” Mayor Ashley Swearengin said. “This is about more than just staying cool during the summer months. It’s about providing a critical safety net for some of our most vulnerable residents,” she said.

When cooling centers are activated, the City relies on the local media to communicate their availability and locations. Media advisories will be sent out at times of activation for your use. In addition, notifications will also be posted to the City website (www.fresno.gov) and will be available by calling 621-CITY.

###