Cooling Shelters are a life-saving oasis in extreme heat

Belmont County

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) – Belmont County has more than a dozen cooling shelters all over the county, from church basements to fire department community rooms.

One of them is at the Belmont County Salvation Army in Bellaire.

It’s been there for at least 14 years, and it’s just a space with chairs, TVs, chilled bottled water, snacks and some board games.

On hot days like this, they keep the cooling shelter open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but they’ve been known to stretch those hours a bit when necessary.

In the past, we’ve opened up the cooling shelter and because temperatures were so hot—well over 90 degrees during that time period—people said their house wasn’t any cooler even in the evening, and they asked if they could stay overnight. We have an emergency shelter, and I thought that was certainly an emergency, because if you send people back out in the extreme heat, the possibility of death is there.

Major Louis Patrick, Belmont County Salvation Army

Major Patrick said he believes that oppressive heat can cause not only physical problems but emotional ones as well.

He explained once you can’t get comfortable, you are unable to control your environment, but once you cool off, you feel better in every way.

The shelter even accepts pets, if they are support animals.

Here is the complete list of Belmont County’s cooling shelters:

  • Barnesville Fire Station
  • Bellaire Salvation Army
  • Belmont United Methodist Church
  • Spirit of 76 Fire Department
  • Village of Bethesda Community Room
  • Smith Township Fire Department
  • Flushing Fire Department
  • Holloway VFD Hall
  • Grace Presbyterian Church, Martins Ferry
  • Neffs United Methodist Church
  • Church of the Nazarene, Powhatan
  • Village of Shadyside Community Center
  • Somerton United Methodist Church
  • Yorkville Fire Department

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