Summer 2018 heats up. Here’s how — and where — to stay cool

Updated Friday, Aug. 9, at 3 p.m.

A cooling shelter open evenings at the East Multnomah Building in Gresham, July 2018

Multnomah County may open cooling shelters when temperatures get dangerously hot. No cooling centers are open at this time. Check this page, of visit Help for When it's Hot for updates. 

Day centers serving neighbors experiencing homelessness will be open as they are most days of the year.

Portland fountains will blast cold chlorinated water. County library branches will air condition their stacks [see this map of pools, fountains and library branches]. And outdoor pools, a summer staple, won’t be the only entertainment to see an influx of guests. The hottest hours of the day in the Portland metro region are between 2 and 8 p.m., so movie theaters and malls may see more visitors as people put off returning after work to homes without air conditioning. Here’s what people should know about finding Help When it’s Hot:

Who’s at Risk

Seniors are most vulnerable to prolonged heat exposure, in part because they perspire less, a function that cools the body. Young children, people with chronic health problems and people with disabilities are more vulnerable to the effects of extreme heat. So are neighbors who are experiencing homelessness and surviving without shelter or access to cool places.

People who are not acclimated to hot weather, who are obese, or who use alcohol or drugs and also at greater risk during a heat wave. Outdoor workers, people who are low income, people who don't have shelter and athletes should also take extra precautions when it’s hot.

The effects of heat exposure are cumulative. So people who can handle one day of heat might find themselves unable to get through four or five days without a break the weather. Watch for signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

Pets, like people, are also at risk of heat-stroke. It’s important to protect pets from the heat to avoid heat stroke, which can be difficult to treat once it begins, and can be life-threatening. Never leave a pet in a parked car, even while it’s running. It’s also important to make sure that your pet has access to plenty of water at all times.

Learn more about symptoms of heat-related illness in animals, tips to keep your pet(s) cool and what to do if you see a pet in a hot car.

Beat the heat

Some library branches stay open until 8 p.m., offering residents a respite from the hottest hours of the day so visit a library that stays open late. At home, you might consider making a cool pack using a sock and dry rice or pouring yourself a chilled glass of cucumber water. For neighbors experiencing homelessness, day centers are open daily and can provide drop-in services.

Just remember: Stay Cool. Stay Hydrated. Stay Informed.

Cooling Centers: Multnomah County may consider opening cooling centers during heat waves. Check our Stay Cool! Map for updates

Other Safety Tips for Summer

Water Safety: Lakes and rivers are great places to cool off during hot days. Make sure you know how to be safe before you pump up your tube for a float down the Sandy river or take kids out to swim on Sauvie Island

Beach Safety: Heading to the Oregon Coast? Check out the state’s beachside safety guide, cautioning visitors to watch for unexpected strong currents, big waves and drift logs.

Window Safety: open windows can offer a welcomed breeze during hot weather. But families with small kids should be aware of the risks, and consider locking them at 4 inches wide.