A major heat wave hit the Carolinas Friday, making it hard on anyone who's outside.
Anderson County officials said they won't be taking any chances keeping the community safe. The sheriff's department said heat is the No. 1 weather-related killer in their county. They're especially worried about people who don't have air conditioning.
For that reason, they're opening cooling stations across the county for people to head into if they aren't able to stay away from the heat in their own homes.
Thursday night, the Anderson Civic Center alone had 1,000 chairs ready to go for the cooling station's open at 9 a.m. Friday. The number might seem high, but officials say this heat creates problems for more people than you may think.
When the heat index goes up, so do the 911 calls. The Anderson County 911 dispatch sees a 20 percent increase in call volume, and some of those incidents are deadly.
"We've had incidents where we've lost people in the past when the heat index gets this high," said Taylor Jones of the Anderson County Sheriff's Department. "When the elderly were not checked on, kids left in cars, it's those kinds of things the whole community needs to be checking on."
That's why Anderson County Emergency Services, the municipal governments and the Red Cross are teaming up to provide cooling stations.
They'll simply be cool, indoor places with seating and access to water, but organizers say those are the things many take for granted.
Emergency services are prepared for a busy weekend for those who do choose to venture outside. They warn that if you experience lack of orientation, headaches, nausea and lack of sweating, then you should stay on the safe side and call 911.
"Winter storms people take serious, but when the heat index is this high, it can be just as bad," said Jones. "Stay home, stay safe, stay hydrated."
Anderson County cooling stations will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the locations listed below.
• Civic Center of Anderson, 3027 MLK Jr. Blvd., Anderson (A big screen television, water and toys will be available at the Civic Center. Pets are welcome at the Civic Center location.)
• Watkins School, 204 South Main St., Honea Path
• Trinity Church, 324 Belton Dr., Williamston
• Powdersville Fire Department, 10600 Anderson Rd., Easley
• Iva Fire and Rescue, 9711 Hwy. 81 S., Iva
• Pendleton Fire Department, 108 S. Depot St., Pendleton
• Belton Fire Department, 306 Anderson St., Belton
The Pickens County Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross will open a cooling center and shelter at 1 p.m. Friday at Eastside Baptist Church located at 920 Anderson Drive in Liberty.
The cooling center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. It will not be open Sunday.
In Abbeville County, a cooling station will be open at the Abbeville Civic Center located at 404 N. Main St. in Abbeville on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
In Greenville, the city has opened two cooling centers at the West Greenville and Nicholtown Community Centers. They will be open from 3:30 p.m. till 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 2:30 p.m. till 7 p.m. on Sunday.
The West Greenville Community Center is located at 8 Rochester St. The Nicholtown Community Center is located at 112 Rebecca St.
In Spartanburg County, several fire departments will serve as cooling stations from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. for the next few days at these locations:
Boiling Springs FD Station no. 1 at 186 Rainbow Lake Rd.
Cherokee Springs FD Station no. 1 at 201 Flatwoods Dr.
Drayton FD at 50 Carney St.
Croft FD at 370 Cedar Springs Rd.
North Spartanburg Area FD Station no. 1 at 8767 Asheville Hwy.
Roebuck FD Stations 1 at 2639 Stone Station Rd. and Station 2 at 1070 Southport Rd.
Reidville FD at 7450 Reidville Rd.
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Tuesday, June 18 2013 9:47 AM EDT2013-06-18 13:47:39 GMT
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