With hot temperatures, officials remind residents to stay safe and offering advice on how to handle heat-related emergencies. The Tyler community also offers several cooling centers for those in need to escape the heat.

Below, you'll find all the information you need to know about local resources and how to take precautions during this time.

Precautions and safety tips

The Smith County 2022 Heat Response Plan said a period of high temperatures creates potential for heat illnesses. Extremely hot weather is not something to take lightly, as very high body temperatures can cause severe damage to the brain and other vital organs and could lead to death.

The county's plan recommends individuals stay out of direct sun and never leave unattended children or pets in vehicles because heat can build up rapidly.

If you must be outdoors, wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and consume at least 5 to 7 ounces of water every 20 minutes to avoid dehydration. Sports drinks should be consumed in moderation and it's best to avoid alcohol, as this will worsen conditions. Watch out for early signs of dehydration, like dark yellow and brownish urine. 

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What to do in the event of a heat-related emergency

Individuals at risk for heat injuries can call 911 for a medical evaluation or heat check. Paramedics will respond to identify any heat-related problem and provide transportation to the appropriate medical facility in the event of an emergency.

Those at risk for heat injuries should also move to a cool shaded area or air conditioned room. Air conditioning is the leading protective factor against heat-related illness and death, so it's important to stay inside with air conditioning as much as possible. Loosen or remove clothing, apply a water-soaked towel or ice pack wrapped in towel, to head and armpits. If conscious and not nauseous, they should have a small cup of water.

It is also advised to check on family and neighbors, especially the elderly and those without air conditioning.

Watch out for signs

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are two serious illnesses caused by exposure to hot temperatures, but they are different. It's important to know the signs of both, because heat stroke requires immediate medical attention.

Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness & fatigue
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision or fainting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid and Shallow breathing
  • Cold, pale, moist or clammy skin
  • Mood changes such as irritability or confusion

Signs and symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Body temperature greater than 103°F
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Change in mental status (confused, passed out, slurred speech, inappropriate words)
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Throbbing headache
  • Unconsciousness

Safe, cool places of refuge 

There are several locations available for those who need to get out of the heat. CDC guidelines and considerations will be followed at locations.

Overnight locations:

  • Salvation Army (903) 592-4361
  • American Red Cross (903) 581-7981 or 1- 866-505-4801
  • Hiway 80 Rescue Mission (903)-617-6097

Daytime Locations:

  • Salvation Army (903) 592-4361
  • Local fire stations
  • Broadway Square Mall and other retail outlets on the city bus route
  • Movie theaters
  • Churches 

City of Tyler facilities:

  • Tyler Fire Department, various locations. Call 903-535-0005 or 911
  • Glass Recreation Center (903) 595-7271
  • Tyler Public Library, 201 S. College (903) 593-7323
  • Senior Citizen Activity Center (903) 597-0781
  • Rose Garden (903) 531-1349
  • Swimming pools

Smith County daytime locations:

  • Smith County Office of Emergency Management (903) 590-2655
  • Smith County ESD #1 (903) 882-3443
  • Smith County ESD #2 (903) 617-6578
  • Smith County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency (903) 566-6600
Tyler Transit bus

A rider gets on a Tyler Transit bus in May 2022.

Need a ride?

For those in need of transportation to en route to air conditioned shelters or daytime locations, contact the individual agency for availability. Family, friends, neighbors, Tyler Transit, hospital courtesy vans and cab companies are all options.

Get water or donate supplies

For individuals who need water, bottled water is often available at Salvation Army (903) 592-4361 or PATH (903) 597-4044.

To donate water, fans, cooling packs, air conditioners and transportation services, contact:

  • Tyler Fire Department (903) 535-0005
  • 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
  • Smith County ESD 2 (903)-617-6578

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Reporting intern

Reporting intern Priya Leal is a student at the University of North Texas majoring in digital/print journalism. Leal is pursing her passion for journalism and enjoys covering all types of news.