Heat Plan - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Heat Plan

As we get closer to 3-digit temperatures outside, the temps inside some East Texas homes are climbing, too. It creates a potentially dangerous situation for those with little or no air conditioning.

The elderly are especially at risk. Dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion are all possible dangers when it gets too hot.

That's why the people from Meals on Wheels check on our East Texas seniors on a regular basis.

The temperature outside today: upper 90s. But Hugh Denson is out delivering lunches to seniors, like clockwork, everyday for the past 15 years.

"Not only do we deliver meals, but we check on them to be sure they're all right," Denson said.

Lernette Thompson can only afford to use one A/C window unit at a time and closes the doors to keep the cool air in one room.

"Sometimes it gets just a little bit warm," she said. "I can tell you now. When it gets hot, I let everybody know what's going on."

Our thermometer reads 91 degrees in her living room.

When we visited Doris, she was using only one window unit also. The temperature inside: 92 degrees.

And Med Team Doctor Ed Dominguez says that's getting a little too hot, especially for seniors, who are more likely to get dehydrated.

"It won't take nearly as much heat for them to suddenly drop their blood pressure, for example," he said. "They may be on medications that affect their ability to sense things, like heat or cold, very well."

That's why Dorothy Reed checks on her elderly neighbor on a regular basis.

"You doing all right, right?" she asked.

And that's the neighborly thing to do when the heat is not so friendly.

Help is available for people living in heat. You can call your local police department to set up a welfare visit for you or a neighbor.


 (JUNE 2005)


City ofTyler Fire Department has agreed to be the lead agency for the Heat Plan.  Other agencies or human service entities needing information or administrative assistance should call the City of Tyler Fire Department at (903) 535-0005 as the primary contact and/or the Smith County Public Health District at (903) 535-0036 as the secondary contact.  For public affairs information call the Health District at (903) 535-0036.


Heat is a killer.  In the U.S., hundreds of people die annually, and a single heat wave (like Chicago, 1995) can kill more than 600 people in a very short time.  In Texas, 78 persons died from heat in 1980.  Significantly more in 1998.  A New England Journal of Medicine article about that heat wave (NEJM:335, July 11, 1997, pp 84-90) indicated that those at highest risk of dying from the heat were those with medical illnesses who were socially isolated and who did not have access to air conditioning.  The June 19, 1998, issue of the MMWR highlights heat-related mortality in the U.S. in 1997.  These articles include ideas for effective intervention.

Fans may not be as effective above 90 degrees with high humidity.  If overheated, people should be advised to seek air conditioning.

Those at highest risk for death or illness from heat (groups without access to air conditioning for at least a few hours of the day) are: the elderly, socially isolated individuals (homebound, homeless), the physically disabled, those with chronic medical conditions, infants, and those taking certain medications (neuroleptics, anticholinergics).

We therefore conclude that access to air conditioning is the most critical intervention to decrease the human impact of a heat wave.


Individuals at risk for heat injuries can call 597-2011 (ETMC-EMS) for a medical evaluation/heat check if necessary.  Paramedics would respond to identify any heat related problem and arrange transportation or transport in the event of an emergency.


Overnight Locations:

·    Salvation Army - 24 hour shelter for homeless or near homeless with a capacity of 200. Call (903) 592-4361.  In case of declared emergency, additional space for 250 is available in the Disaster Shelter.

·    Red Cross - Open on demand.  Depends on declared emergency.  Ms. Lisa Phillips, Emergency Services Director, (903) 581-7981.

Daytime Locations:

·    Salvation Army - 633 North Broadway is open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Phone

      (903) 592-4361.

·    YMCA - Air conditioned building at 225 South Vine with a capacity of 50 for daytime activities.  Gymnasium is air conditioned.  Pool area closed at this time..  Hours 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Membership not required during prolonged heat emergency.  Call (903) 593-7327 or (903) 533-1384.

·    Genecov Room Blackstone Building (Chamber of Commerce), 315 North Broadway, Hours 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday thru Friday, estimated capacity 60, call (903) 592-1661.

      Other times may be available by calling the Chamber to make special arrangements

·    Broadway Square Mall and others - public areas with air conditioning.  Friends and family should transport friends and family.  On city bus route.

·    Movie Theatres - Air conditioned.

·    Churches - Check with individual church regarding activities or capability to accommodate the public.

·    Schools - On hold at this time. Depends on a declared emergency and whether school is in session.

City of Tyler Facilities:

·    Glass Recreation Center  -  501 W. 32nd St.  Air conditioned and open to the public during posted hours with estimated capacity of 500 individuals.  Activities can be scheduled by calling (903) 533-1397.

·    Tyler Public Library - 201 S. College.  Air conditioned and open to the public during posted hours with an estimated capacity of 200 individuals.  Activities can be scheduled through the library for Taylor Auditorium (capacity 100) by calling (903) 593-7323.

·    Senior Citizen Activity Center - 1915 Garden Valley Road.  Call (903) 597-0781 for additional information about services. Hours 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday thru Friday. estimated capacity 125.

·    TASCA-Ornelas Activity Center – 3402 Old Omen Road Call (903) 565-4445. Hours 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday-Friday with an estimated capacity 600.

·    Rose Garden 420 Rose Park Drive , Call Debbie Isham at (903) 531-1349, Hours 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday thru Friday with an estimated capacity 200.

·    Swimming Pools

Arp Sites:                             none designated at this time

Bullard Sites:                       none designated at this time

Flint Sites:                            none designated at this time

Lindale Sites:                       Lindale Community Library, 200 E. Hubbard (903) 882-1900. Capacity

                                              200-300. Air Conditioned and open to the public during posted hours.

New Chapel Hill Sites:        none designated at this time

Noonday Sites:                     none designated at this time

Overton Sites:                      none designated at this time

Troup Sites:                          none designated at this time.

Whitehouse Sites:                none designated at this time.       

Winona Sites:                       none designated at this time.


Free transportation for at risk individuals en route to air conditioned shelters or daytime locations include:

·        The Salvation Army – call (903) 592-4361 for transportation to shelter.

·  At this time call The Salvation Army at (903) 592-4361 to volunteer with a vehicle for transporting and call for limited transportation assistance.  Additional assets being explored:

¨   Hospital courtesy vans.

¨   Volunteer Center.

¨   City bus - vouchers or tickets available from Salvation Army or PATH.

            ¨   Mini Bus - (903) 593-7650

¨   TJC van.

¨      EMS van.

            ¨   East Texas Food Bank van available for 10 people (903) 597-3663

¨      City Cab companies.

¨      Car dealers - volunteer salespersons with vehicles to assist in transporting.

IDENTIFICATION OF ISOLATED/ELDERLY AT RISK INDIVIDUALS and get them connected to transportation and air conditioning.  Remember 7-10% do not have telephone.  Action individuals or agencies:

·    Police Department (especially beat officers)

·    Neighborhood Crime Watch

·    Fire Department

·    Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

·    People Attempting to Help (PATH) – Brown Bag program for 665 homebound

·    Meals on Wheels

·    Senior Citizen Center

·    Emergency Care Centers/Emergency Rooms

·    Hospital Social Workers

·    Home Health Nursing

·    Public Health Case Managers/Outreach Workers

·    Animal Control Officers

·    Church Volunteers

·    All Citizen Volunteers

·    Friends and Family

·     East Texas Council For Independent Living - particularly for disabled residents in the area


Should concern exist and a visit be necessary, please contact the Tyler Police Department at (903) 531-1090 or 911 if appropriate to request a welfare visit by a police officer.


Provide information to the public about what they should do, some general information on avoiding heat related illness, and where to go for air conditioned relief.
·    2-1-1 Texas at United Way

·    Salvation Army (903) 592-4361

·        Northeast Texas Public Health District (903) 535-0028

·        KTBB AM600/KDOK 92.1 FM (903) 593-2519

·        KETK NBC56 (903) 581-5656

·    KLTV Channel 7 (903) 510-7777

·    KYTX CBS19 (903) 581-2211

·    Tyler Morning Telegraph (903) 596-6265

·    Other Media (see telephone book)

·    City of Tyler Access Channel (903) 533-7444 Web Site @ www.cityoftyler.org

·    Northeast Texas Public Health District Web Site @ www.healthdistrict.net

·    Health Care Facilities

¨   Trinity Mother Frances - Telecare Plus (903) 531-5678 or 1-(800) 535-9799

¨   ETMC Health First 1(800) 648-8141, press #4 to speak with a nurse)

¨   UT Health Center at Tyler Emergency Room (903) 877-7806


Electricity - Individuals with problems concerning payment should contact their electric company to develop a payment plan if necessary.  Agencies that may assist with temporary utility bill assistance include:

·    Greater East Texas Community Action Program (GETCAP) (903) 592-3828 or

      1 (800) 621-5746.

·    Salvation Army

·    PATH

·    Churches

Water - Bottled water may be available from Salvation Army or PATH.



The following agencies working in close partnership will accept donations of cooling packs, fans, air conditioners, and appropriately distribute them.  This includes donated transportation services:

·    People Attempting To Help (PATH) (903) 597-4044

·    Salvation Army (903) 592-4361

·    Meals on Wheels (903) 593-7385

·    KLTV Channel 7 (903) 510-7777

·    KETK NBC56 (903) 581-5656

·    KYTX CBS19 (903) 581-2211

·    Local Fire Department for drop-off (903) 535-0005


Emergency rooms and EMS providers are keeping records of the number of heat related injuries/illnesses to allow monitoring of the community and to permit future development of heat plans.  This is being coordinated by Texas Department of Health EMS staff.           
Data for 2003: ETMC reported 26 patients discharged and 3 admitted to hospital. Trinity Mother Frances reported a total of 69 heat related patients through Emergency Care. No heat related casualties reported from UTHCT.  No deaths occurred.

Data for 2004: ETMC didn’t see any direct heat related injuries. UTHCT reported 3 heat related injuries only and no deaths. Trinity Mother Frances reported a total of 54 heat related patients through emergency care. There were zero deaths in this group.



Users of this plan are encouraged to direct questions to the above identified agencies in the areas identified.  Should issues not be addressed in the plan or questions remain unanswered users may contact the lead agency.  As always for emergency situations “911” should be used.



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