DES MOINES, Iowa — The extreme heat wave headed through Iowa this week has already called for a Heat Advisory through Wednesday. In response to the heatwave, Polk County Emergency Management is activating its Extreme Temperature plan.

Per the plan, cooling centers around the metro will open to the public and shelters will offer weather amnesty. DART buses will also provide free transportation to cooling centers.

Most cooling centers are located in local libraries, malls, and community centers. A full list of cooling centers can be found on Polk County Emergency Management’s website.

Who is most at risk for heat-related illness?

  • Infants and children up to 4 years old
  • People over 65 years old
  • People who are overweight
  • Those who have existing medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease
  • Those who are socially isolated and poor
  • Participating in strenuous physical activities and/or consuming alcohol can put people at greater risk for heat-related illnesses.

How to prevent illness from heat

  • Dress in light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Drink extra water or drinks that contain electrolytes like sports drinks
  • Limit time outdoors during the hottest part of the day which is typically between 1 and 7 PM.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in a vehicle. Also never leave pets outside
  • If you work outdoors, take breaks in the shade when possible
  • Check on elderly, disabled, or homebound people