Tips on where to stay cool, or pick up a free fan

With temperatures expected to be in the 90s all this week and with heat indexes pushing things even hotter, staying cool becomes a health issue for some. And the leaders of Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center, serving some of the most financially strapped residents without some of the comforts as others, are among those aiming to help.

By 9 a.m. Thursday, they are aiming to have free fans for Bartholomew County residents without home air conditioning, according to Diane Doup at the nonprofit. Those coming to the center at 1039 Sycamore St. must have a piece of mail with their name on it to show that they are Bartholomew County residents.

Organizers of the giveaway are also seeking donations to defray the cost of the fans. Donations can be made on the neighborhood center’s website at and by scrolling down to the graphic that reads “interested in giving financially?”

The center has had other summer fan giveaways in the past when an anonymous donor made such possible.

One cooling station to be opened beginning today through Friday is at Donner Center, 739 22nd St. in Columbus. Pet crates from Columbus Animal Care Services will be available for people’s animals brought with them. Animals will not be allowed to roam freely inside Donner. But specially designated service animals will not be required to be crated, according to a flyer.

Officials remind residents that cooling stations are not areas for sleeping or showering or places for food.

Bartholomew County Emergency Management Director Shannan Cooke distributed a general email to media on Monday reminding area residents to be careful in the elevated temperatures.

“An extended period of hot and humid conditions is expected across all of central Indiana through next weekend,” it reads. “Daily high temperatures in the low- to mid-90s with heat indices approaching 100 during the afternoon hours may be hazardous for sensitive and vulnerable populations. Take extra precautions if spending time outside during peak heating of the day.”

Ben Jackson, Columbus Township trustee often helping with residents of Brighter Days shelter in Columbus, said he frequently reminds clients this time of year to take precautions against the heat with steps said as drinking plenty of water and staying indoors, if possible.

“But there are a lot of them who don’t want to come inside,” Jackson said.

He added that free bottled water is available to people at the Community Engagement Center, 1075 Second St. in Columbus.

Other places where residents can escape the heat include NexusPark on 25th St., where water bottles also can be filled.

The American Red Cross reminds people to be aware of more serious heat-related symptoms, such as the following:

  • Heat cramps are an early sign of trouble and include heavy sweating with muscle pains or spasms. For those helping such a person, move them to a cooler place and encourage them to drink water or a sports drink. Get medical help if symptoms last longer than an hour or if the person has heart problems.
  • Heat exhaustion is a more severe condition signaled by heavy sweating; cool, pale and clammy skin; a fast or weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; tiredness or weakness; or a headache, dizziness or passing out. To help, move the person to a cooler place, loosen tight clothing, encourage them to sip water slowly. Use wet cloths, misting or fanning to help cool them off. Get medical help right away if symptoms get worse or last longer than an hour, or if they begin vomiting or acting confused.
  • Heat stroke is a deadly condition that requires immediate medical help. Symptoms include a high body temperature; hot, red, dry or damp skin; a fast or strong pulse; a headache or dizziness; or nausea, confusion and passing out. Call 911 right away if you think someone may have heat stroke. After calling 911, move the person to a cool place, and use wet cloths, misting or fanning to help cool them off. Do not give the person anything to drink.