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Temperatures may reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit over the next few days, the National Weather Service predicts, some of the hottest weather seen locally in the last four years.
Standing in front of a couple toddlers playing in the fountains at Southwest’s King Greenleaf Spray Park as the temperature approached 90 degrees, city officials, led by City Administrator Rashad Young, released the District’s plans to keep people safe in the heat. When outdoor temperatures or the heat index reach 95 degrees, the District declares a heat emergency.
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There will be additional cooling buses from Metro and other cooling resources in the city, including more on-the-street staff members engaging people who need assistance to get relief the heat.
Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Geldart urged residents to watch out for each other during the scorching hot weather expected this weekend and to report people who either need to be taken to a cooling station or need medical attention. Residents can request transportation to a cooling center by calling (800) 535-7252.
“Please look out for friends and neighbors and make sure that they’re staying cool and hydrated,” Geldart said. “Go out there and make sure people are doing the right things so we don’t have casualties from the heat we’re going to expect over the next couple days.”
D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean said the city will increase ambulance resources throughout the city to be ready to transport people in need of medical attention because of the heat. The agency will employ four extra ambulances on Friday and five extra ambulances from Saturday until Monday.
Low-barrier homeless shelters will be open during the day instead of just at night during the heat emergency, so that the people staying there do not need to go outside in the heat, Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilinger said.
Residents should treat heat strokes as a medical emergency, said LaQuandra Nesbitt, the director of the Department of Health. She directed residents to call 911 if they see people who stop sweating in the heat and have skin turning red.
Not surprisingly, Department of Parks and Recreation Director Keith Anderson said the District’s pools and spray parks will be open longer to give people more opportunities to get out of the heat this weekend. On Saturday, some of the city’s pools will be open until 9 p.m.; spray parks will be open between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. through July 29.
Anderson added that it is illegal for residents to open fire hydrants in the city.
“Our spray parks are safer and more fun than opening fire hydrants,” he said.