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York City firefighters brave the heat, while senior citizens keep their cool

YORK, Pa. — The start of a heat wave has many people thinking how to keep cool. It’s a time to think about keeping an eye on others, to make sure th...

YORK, Pa. -- The start of a heat wave has many people thinking how to keep cool.

It's a time to think about keeping an eye on others, to make sure they stay hydrated.

Hot days can be especially brutal for firefighters. While they'd like to beat the heat like the rest of us, their job fighting fires doesn't make that any easier.

Higher temps generally call for wearing fewer clothes, but firefighters don't always have much of a choice.

City of York Fire Chief David Michaels said "it's something we know we have to contend with, fires are hot to begin with, and then we throw the outside temperature in there."

"We allow them to go down to their t-shirt for their uniform, rather than a heavier shirt," Michaels said.

City of York firefighter Rolando Suarez said "by the time we put out bunker pants, and coat, and mask, we have to put a hood also, that protects us, we're basically not exposed when we go to fight fires, but just putting that on, we're sweating."

The heat also may take its toll on senior citizens.

York County Area Agency on Aging information specialist Jenny Nace said "by medications that may change the way our body senses the heat, so therefore, you and I may feel very warm, where an older individual may not."

Water not only helps fire crews fight fires, but it's also one of the many tools they use to keep their cool.

"Some water, some fluids, some towels that we can wet for their necks. We also have used RabbitTransit, [which] is very good to us, if we need a bus, they can bring a bus out with air conditioning, that we can get firefighters in there and cool them down," Michaels said.

Meanwhile, many of us also can come to the rescue for seniors in our area.

"Think of your elderly neighbors, friends or family members, please check on them , make sure they have some kind of air, if not air conditioning, a fan, a lot of water to stay hydrated," Nace said.

"It's important for them to stay hydrated, drink lots of water, even if they're not thirsty, it's important for them to drink fluids," Nace added.

And firefighters may not always be able to beat the heat -- but they will continue to battle fires no matter what the weather brings.

"This time of year is tough, as well as the winter, when we're out in the opposite of this, the extreme cold, it does get difficult and challenging," Michaels said.

"It doesn't matter if it's raining, hot, or whatever, we're still going to be out there doing our jobs," Suarez said.

Fire crews also will limit how long they're exposed to the heat. They'll rotate crews every 20 or 30 minutes or call in more alarms if they need to.

Older people are advised to keep cool with a fan or air-conditioner, or head to the mall to escape the high temperatures.

There also are 'cooling centers' where senior citizens can take a break from the hot weather.

Crispus Attucks Association
605 South Duke Street
York, PA 17401-3111
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
(717) 848-3610 Ext. 267

Delta Area Senior Center, Inc
5 Pendyrus Street – Suite 1
(Front and Hill Streets)
Delta, PA 17314
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
(717) 456-5753

Dillsburg Senior Activity Center, Inc.
P.O. Box 51
(1 North Second Street)
Dillsburg, PA 17019
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
(717) 432-2216

Golden Connections Community Center, Inc.
20-C Gotham Place
(North Main Street Extended)
Red Lion, PA 17356
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
(717) 244-7229

Heritage Senior Center, Inc.
3700-4 Davidsburg Road
Dover, PA 17315
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
(717) 292-7471

Northeastern Senior Community Center
P.O. Box 386
(131 Center Street
Otterbein United Methodist Church)
Mount Wolf, PA 17347
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
(717) 266-1400

Red Land Senior Center, Inc.
736 Wyndamere Road
Lewisberry, PA 17339
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
(717) 938-4649 or (717) 938-4640

September House
1251 West King Street
York, PA 17404
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
(717) 848-4417

South Central York County Senior Center, Inc
150 East Main Street
New Freedom, PA 17349-9750
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
(717) 235-6060

Stewartstown Senior Center, Inc.
26 S. Main Street
(Stewartstown United Methodist Church)
Stewartstown, PA 17363
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
(717) 993-3488

Susquehanna Area Senior Center, Inc.
2427 Craley Road
Wrightsville, PA 17368
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
(717) 244-0340

White Rose Senior Center, Inc.
27 South Broad Street
(Broad Park Apartments)
York, PA 17403
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
(717) 843-9704

Windy Hill on the Campus
1472 Roth’s Church Road, Suite 103
Spring Grove, PA 17362
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
(717) 225-0733

Yorktown Senior Center, Inc.
509 Pacific Avenue
York, PA 17404
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.
(717) 854-0693