Cooling stations, like the Rockford Rescue Mission, stand at the ready as potentially deadly heat threatens the Stateline.
Officials say people who are at risk from the heat need to start thinking about taking precautions.
“They should be going to either the cooling centers or the mall,” said Community Health and Prevention Coordinator Christopher Greenwood.
The Mission’s cooling center is open from seven to seven everyday. It’s fully equipped with enough room for residents to sit, watch TV, read a book or even take a cool shower.
“It’s air-conditioned, it’s comfortable, at times there’s some activities going on or sometimes people are just resting,” said Director of Development at the Rockford Rescue Mission Rus Howard. “If you’re in a hot house in too much heat or outdoors, being in a cooling center is important.”
It’s one of seven cooling sites in Winnebago County. Those include the Public Safety building in downtown Rockford, as well as the village halls in Pecatonica and Machesney Park. In Boone County the Salvation Army is open.
Officials say it’s important that those with children, and the elderly, don’t wait to come in until it is too late.
“We just encourage people to take precautions. Heat stroke comes on very quickly. A lot of times people think ‘I can handle this,’ and by the time some people get the warning signs physically, their body already is compromised,” said Howard. “There’s too many sad stories of those who waited too long to get hydrated and get in a cool place.”