National News

Emergency crews hand out water bottles to city's homeless

Posted July 21

— Thursday was the hottest day of the year at 97 degrees, and emergency agencies packed up to make sure those who couldn't get inside where taken care of.

Cold bottles of water were luxuries for the homeless during the hot temperatures.

"It only takes 15 to 20 minutes, and you can feel it. Like this afternoon when it gets up to 104, 105 heat index, it's going to be hard on people," said Jerry Hooks, a homeless man who lives in Nashville.

Workers with the Metro Office of Emergency Management handed out water on the city's streets after discovering the heat index would hit triple digits.

"People can get dehydrated very quickly and not even know it, have heat exhaustion or a heat stroke," said Capt. Mike Russell. "Heat stroke is a very dangerous and life threatening situation."

There's no set temperature threshold for when cooling centers open in Nashville. Russell said it happens when homeless shelters are at capacity.

"I know the hot spell we had a couple of weeks ago the union mission was already out checking on some people. They do it all summer long when it gets hot," Russell said.

For those living in homes, NES recommends closing blinds and drapes and taking cool showers to reduce heat inside. The most important thing to do is to hydrate and be mindful how you feel.

"Yesterday I was out for a while, and I started feeling the heat exhaustion. I actually felt it coming on and came to actually cool down and drank two or three bottles of water," Hooks said.

OEM said they gave out 76 bottles of water Thursday and they plan to do it again Friday and Saturday.

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