Cooling center options during Western Washington heat wave

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TACOMA, Wash. — The sun’s rays feeling good enough for a stroll or a play date in the park on Monday but later this week get ready for the boiling heat.

“The way our windows are, we can’t put air conditioning in our windows,” Pierce County resident Gerald Shelton said.

Shelton will just have to cope with the triple digit temperatures.

“My doctor is always talking about dehydration,” Shelton said.

That warning is especially important for people in the Pacific Northwest not used to extreme heat.

“Our bodies aren’t used to ongoing periods of hot weather so it’s something everyone needs to pay attention to,” said Nigel Turner, with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

Health experts say the elderly, young and anyone with a chronic illness are the most vulnerable in hot conditions.

“What we worry most about is heat stroke -- that’s when your body loses the capability of cooling you, you actually stop sweating,” Turner said.

And fighting off the heat means plenty of bottled water.

The Tacoma Rescue Mission is packed floor-to-ceiling with water raised through social media.

“Pierce County is so gracious as a community they started bringing in water after water after water,” Stephen Stanford with The Tacoma Rescue Mission said.

As the agency hands out bottled water to the homeless, city agencies will identify cooling centers for the public.

“I think it will be tough on a lot of people,” Tacoma resident Diana Fong said.

Lighthouse and Beacon Senior Centers are two cooling centers for the elderly community in Tacoma .

People can also escape the heat at government facilities and public libraries across Pierce County.



From the city of Tacoma:

With high temperatures predicted this week, Metro Parks Tacoma is extending hours for its outdoor pools through Friday, Aug. 4, and encouraging residents to take advantage of its spraygrounds and air conditioned community centers.

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department advises drinking plenty of fluids, dressing appropriately, avoiding strenuous activity and staying indoors if possible to avoid heat-related illness. The department also advises frequently checking children and adults who are at risk. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting and dizziness or fainting. Learn more on the department’s website.

The Metro Parks locations below can be great places to avoid the heat. Tacoma Fire Department also has information about cooling centers such as libraries; visit the Tacoma Fire’s News and Information site for details and more tips.


Ten Spraygrounds – all locations operate from 10 am to 8 pm:


Outdoor Swimming Pools


Community Centers

Each of our community centers offer a space where community members are welcome to gather with other community members and escape the heat. Bring a book, deck of cards or board games to play at tables and chairs in our community spaces.


Hours vary by location – visit website for more information


STAR Center (404-3939)
3873 S. 66th St.,
Tacoma, WA  98409
Center at Norpoint (404-3900)
4818 Nassau Ave N.E.
Tacoma, WA  98422
Portland Ave. Community Center (591-5391)
3513 Portland Ave
Tacoma, WA 98404
:  11 am -6 pm
Visit Website
People's Community Center (591-5321)
1602 S. MLK Jr Way
Tacoma, WA 98405
Visit Website


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