Municipalities Offer Cooling Centers for Residents to Beat the Heat

By Candace Kelley

For these ladies, it’s no puzzle figuring out where to go when it gets hot. They keeping their cool at the Evergreen Senior Center in Woodbridge Township while these gentlemen play a few card games.

“The heat is awful for us older men,” said Vito DePaola.

There are nine designated cooling centers in Woodbridge Township because of the severe heat alert. The mayor says it was around this same time last year that he established these cooling centers at places including City Hall.

“If you are in home with no air conditioner, you are at risk,” Mayor John McCormac said.

At the Woodbridge Community Center, Al Skowronski is not at risk cooling off inside while his family plays outside.

“I can’t go into sun for long because of my medications. I am reading the paper,” he said.

“I like it hot, but not too much. That’s why I came to the pool, I feel a little cool now,” said Maria Amaya.

New Jerseyans can visit dozens of official cooling centers in almost all of the state’s counties. But Warren, Sussex, Burlington, Monmouth and Salem Counties have yet to designate official cooling centers for the summer.

Being outside for extended periods of time on these hot days just isn’t worth it. But those I spoke to say there’s more to the centers than just cooling off, it gives them the chance to get to know each other.

“It’s a cooling center but with lots of recreational activities,” said Michele Morgan of the Division on Aging and Multi-Services for Woodbridge Township.

For these seniors, a trip on an air conditioned bus to Atlantic City isn’t out of the question. And through the township’s Beat the Heat program, donated fans are also available.

“If they have a respiratory or other health issues and don’t have an air conditioner, we give them a fan,” said Jodi Snyder of the Division on Aging and Multi-Services for Woodbridge Township.

Officials are also reminding people to give elderly relatives and neighbors a call or a visit during heat emergencies.

But you don’t have to be with these cooling centers available to anyone who wants to take a seat and beat the heat.