Contact: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes reminded residents today of several ways to beat the heat this weekend, when the heat index is expected possibly reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

"This is the first heat wave of the summer, and it's a good time make sure residents know that Mercer County offers many outstanding programs and services to help beat the summer heat," said Hughes.

The National Weather Service station in Mount Holly, N.J. issued an excessive heat watch today warning residents of extremely hot temperatures and high humidity beginning Saturday afternoon, June 7, and extending through the early part of next week.

According to the NWS, a Bermuda high pressure system will bring heat and humidity to our area this weekend, resulting in temperatures in the mid- to upper-90s Saturday and Sunday. It also reported the heat index this weekend could reach 100 degrees, making for dangerous conditions in which the potential for heat illnesses like heat stroke is high.

Hughes said residents should drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, try to stay indoors in air-conditioning and out of the sun if possible, and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothes when going outdoors. He also urged residents to check up on elderly relatives, friends, and neighbors.

Mercer County also offers designated Summer Cooling Sites including all municipal senior centers, neighborhood community centers, and the nine Mercer County Library System Branches. These locations are as follows and are open to all residents:

Mercer County Library Branches:
Ewing, Hickory Corner, Hightstown, Hopewell, Hollowbrook, Lawrence, Twin Rivers, Washington, and West Windsor.

Senior Centers:
Bernice C. Muha, Ewing Township; Jennye Stubblefield, Trenton; Hopewell Valley; Monsignor Lipinski, Lawrence Township; Princeton Senior Resource Center; Reading, Sam Naples, South Ward Community Center, all in Trenton; Washington Township.

Older residents and individuals with chronic health conditions are especially encouraged to use these sites during the day to alleviate the negative health effects of the oppressive summer heat.  A heat safety tips flyer has also been created for mass distribution at all Mercer County Congregate Nutrition sites, senior centers, and Cooling Sites. An electronic version can also be found on the Mercer County web site at http://nj.gov/counties/mercer/departments/hs/aging.html.

In addition, Mercer County offers The Medi-Cool program facilitated by the United Way, Catholic Charities, and Princeton Senior Resource Center, via the use of County funding provided by the Office on Aging. Income qualified seniors aged 60 and older with a documented health condition can receive a voucher that entitles them to a free air-conditioner. In 2007, the United Way was able to purchase 173 air conditioner units.

In addition to making cool sites and home cooling appliances available, the County also offers a "Warmline" via the Office on Aging. During daytime hours, residents can call (609) 989-6662 for assistance in coping with the heat. During non-business hours, residents are encouraged to call 911 if they experience heat-related problems.

Depending on driver availability, Mercer County TRADE may be able to assist with transportation to and from Cooling sites. Residents are encouraged to call (609) 530-1971 if they anticipate requiring transportation assistance.

For more information or to access your local Cooling Site, contact the Mercer County Office on Aging at (609) 989-6661 or (609) 989-6662.