As summer starts to scorch, it's healthy to be cool

By Stefanie Donahue, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

With high temperatures in the upper 80s and mid-90s expected through at least Wednesday, local city and parks departments are offering tips to beat the heat.

Cool down:

There are options to enjoy free air conditioning.

• Restaurants, stores and other public places -- say, the Westfield Vancouver Mall, or any Fort Vancouver Regional Library District location -- are likely to have air conditioning.

• Battle Ground is opening the community center, 912 E. Main St., as a cooling center, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday to Wednesday. Bring meals, books, games or hobbies and settle in.

• The Water Resources Education Center has a view of the Columbia River and free hands-on exhibits.

• The Firstenburg Community Center's Teen Zone and the Marshall Center's Teen SPOT are free for people ages 11 to 18 with picture ID, with access to game rooms in the evening Monday through Friday.

Get out early:

• Plan strenuous activities for early, in the cooler part the day. Late works, too.

• Go earlier to Waterfront Park or the Recycled Arts Festival.

• The first signs of heat illness include dizziness, nausea, headaches and muscle cramps. If you feel them, take a cool break.

Get wet …

Local community centers and parks have public swim options to escape the summer heat.

• The Marshall Community Center has free swim 4:45 to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays. It also has a public swim, family swim, aqua play (for parents and children), and splash away, a discounted public swim option.

• The Firstenburg Community Center has public swim hours at its leisure pool. Wrist bands are available before public swim begins, allowing 120 people in at a time.

Klineline Pond in Salmon Creek Regional Park has a roped-off swimming area, picnic tables and a playground. The county had planned to post lifeguards beginning Monday, but is still trying to hire qualified people.

… but stay safe:

• The combination of hot weather and cold water is potentially dangerous. On hot days in early summer, many rivers and lakes in Southwest Washington are full of snow-melt. Cold water, especially when high or swift, can immobilize even strong swimmers quickly.

• Swim in an area with lifeguards and wear a life jacket. Avoid swimming in dangerous areas, such as fast-flowing rivers or ocean beaches with rip currents.

Embrace the evening:

• Free movies are shown at Esther Short Park on Fridays at 6 p.m. starting July 12. "The Adventures of Tin Tin" will be the first film on the big screen; see cityofvancouver.us/movies for the rest of the schedule.