UPDATE: Cooling center extended at FW Community Center

Hot temperatures are expected through Monday, July 8.

Update: The Mayor announced on Monday, July 8 that he is extending the free cooling center at the Federal Way Community Center (FWCC) through Tuesday, July 9. The community center has been available during its typical open hours for this need since Friday, July 5. It is located at 876 S. 333rd Street, Federal Way.

FWCC operates Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pets are not allowed at the community center.

The cooling center has been activated due to a heat advisory for Western Washington issued from the National Weather Service. The advisory is in effect from noon Friday, July 5, through 10 p.m. Monday, July 8.

Temperatures will most likely reach the 90s this Fourth of July weekend.

“We are opening the Federal Way Community Center (FWCC) as a cooling center immediately during regular business hours through Monday, July 8, due to the expected dangerous levels of heat,” said Mayor Jim Ferrell. “Some weather forecasts are predicting a high of 93 degrees in our region on Sunday, July 7, which, according to KOMO-TV (ABC) in Seattle, would surpass the previous record of 90. The City of Federal Way is committed to ensuring the safety of our hard-working residents.”

According to the Washington State Department of Health: “Heat-related health problems range from mild conditions like heat rash and heat cramps, to the most serious heat-related illness of heat stroke. Prolonged exposure to extreme heat can cause dizziness and fatigue, leading to injuries such as falls and other accidents. Heat stress is caused by the body’s inability to cool down properly and can happen to anyone.”

Risk for heat stress is based on the difference in temperature from the typical climate in a region. King County Public Health explains on its website that while a heat advisory might not be issued somewhere else that consistently has temperatures over 90 degrees, King County has a historically mild climate, meaning a higher risk of heat stress for those not acclimated to high temperatures.

King County Public Health shared that awareness of risks in the heat are especially important because “extreme heat events (heat waves) are predicted to happen more often and last longer due to our changing climate.”

On hot days, King County Public Health recommends:

• Checking on at-risk friends, family and neighbors

• Staying cool. Spending time in air-conditioned buildings (such as malls, movie theaters, or libraries) if you can and avoid direct contact with the sun.

• Reducing physical activity and moving to shaded areas.

• Cooling your body down quickly by wearing a wet scarf, bandana, or shirt.

• Staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and not waiting until you’re thirsty to drink more. Limiting or avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can be dehydrating.

• No infants, children and pets in parked cars

• Watching for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke

• Learn more from King County Public Health.

Day passes are also available for purchase at the FWCC. For additional information, visit itallhappenshere.org.

Recent and predicted average temperatures for Washington state as the climate for the region changes. Image from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.

Recent and predicted average temperatures for Washington state as the climate for the region changes. Image from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information.