A cooling center is an air-conditioned public space set up by local authorities to temporarily deal with the health effects of a heat wave. Cooling centers are meant to prevent hyperthermia caused by heat, humidity, and poor air quality. Cooling centers provide shade, water, and restrooms; medical attention and referrals to social services may also be offered. Their services are aimed at the homeless, at-risk populations such as the elderly, and those without air conditioning.
As the danger of heat waves has risen in the public consciousness, cooling centers are increasingly used in larger cities such as New York City, Chicago, Boston, and Toronto, as well as less urban population areas. Cooling centers may also be used in places like Portland and Seattle where home air conditioning is rare but summer can bring temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) for several days. Similarly, during the 2018 European heat wave and fires that reached northern Scandinavia, a supermarket in Finland was temporarily used as a cooling center.
They are usually sited at multiple locations throughout a municipality, such as public libraries, community centers, senior centers, and police stations. Another health measure sometimes taken during heat waves is to extend operational hours at public beaches and swimming pools.
- Extreme poverty
- Social programs
- Mole People
- Human rights
- Ali Forney Center
- Food bank
- Four penny coffin
- Horizon House
- Old Brewery Mission
- Penny sit-up
- Food Not Bombs
- Soup kitchen
- Seaton House
- Warming center
- Le Bon Dieu Dans La Rue (Dans La Rue)
- Hotel de Gink
- Survival skills
- Emergency management
- Civil defense
- Warming center
- "Excessive Heat Prompts Opening of Cooling Centers" (PDF) (Press release). Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management. August 11, 2016.[permanent dead link]
- "City Service: City Cooling Centers". City of Chicago: The City of Chicago's Official Site. City of Chicago. 2010–2016.
- "Find a Cooling Center". New York City Office of Emergency Management. The City of New York. 2013. Archived from the original on 2010-07-04.
- "Heat Safety". City of Boston. July 25, 2016.
- "Map: Cooling centres and swimming pools open in Toronto". Global National. 2012-06-19. Archived from the original on 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- Shum, David (July 7, 2016). "Extended heat warning prompts cooling centres to open in Toronto". Global News. Corus Entertainment Inc. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
- "Cooling Centers". Keep Cool Illinois. State of Illinois. 2016.
- "List of cooling centers in Western Washington". KIRO7. Cox Media Group. August 16, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
- Office of the Mayor (June 25, 2015). "Cooling shelter locations announced ahead of heat wave" (Press release). City of Seattle.
- Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen (August 3, 2018). "Europe deals with heatwave from Portugal to a Finnish supermarket". Reuters. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
- "Governor Cuomo Directs New York State Parks to Offer Extended Hours at Swimming Facilities During Heat Wave". New York State (Press release). Albany, NY. July 26, 2016.