So far, Morton Grove is riding out heat wave
Thrill riders Logan and Aidan Clark enjoy their ride during the annual Morton Grove Days summer celebration. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:46AM
MORTON GROVE — “Hot town, summer in the city.
Back of my neck getting burnt and gritty.
Been down, isn’t it a pity.
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city.
All around, people looking half dead.
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.”
When they came out with that song, “Summer in the City,” in 1966, the Lovin’ Spoonful might just as well have been talking about the summer of 2012, at least so far.
Just barely into summer the Chicago area already has had excessive heat warnings for two days last week and the village of Morton Grove issued its own warning June 28 when the temperature peaked at 100.
Morton Grove Fire Chief Tom Friel said the village usually issues a heat warning when officials are notified by the Cook County Emergency Management Agency that the county is issuing a warning.
The village used its website and its emergency calling system last week to alert residents to the excessive heat.
“There’s not a specific triggering mechanism,” Friel said. “Normally we wait for alerts to be issued by the county.”
When a warning like that is issued the village’s cooling centers are open to the public. They include the Prairie View Community Center, 6834 Dempster St.; the Morton Grove Public Library, 6140 Lincoln; and the Morton Grove American Legion Memorial Civic Center, 6140 Dempster.
During last week’s heat warning, though, Friel noted that the civic center was closed because of preparations for Morton Grove Days, which began June 30.
Police Chief Mark Erickson said temperatures generally in the 90s did not cause any problems at the festival June 30 or July 1.
Friel said the Morton Grove Fire Department received no heart-related calls either.
Residents faced with high electric bills for cooling will get some relief, but not until later this summer.
Peter Falcone, assistant to the village administrator, said the village’s contract with a new electricity provider will begin probably in August and show up in September bills.
The village has contracted with FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. to provide electricity.
All residents and small commercial accounts will automatically be enrolled unless they have already switched their ComEd electric account to an alternate supplier or are in a Residential Real-Time Pricing (RRTP) program. There is no enrollment fee.
The rate, Falcone said, will be 48-percent-lower than what residents and small businesses are paying to Commonwealth Edison.
The lower rate is the result of an electricity aggregation referendum in March, in which voters authorized the village to negotiate for a lower rate.
“We’re hoping this will help our residents out especially now,” Falcone said.
With above-normal temperatures predicted for the summer Friel said there are things residents can do to try and stay cool and prevent heat exhaustion, or the more-serious heat stroke. Senior citizens may be particularly susceptible, Friel said, because of underlying medical conditions they may have or prescriptions they are taking.
Heat stroke is the most-serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: The body’s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106 degrees or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.
Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.
Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.
Warning signs of heat stroke vary but may include an extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees); red, hot and dry skin (no sweating); rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness and nausea.
Warning signs of heat exhaustion may include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, fainting, cool and moist skin, fast and weak pulse rate, and fast and shallow breathing.
The Fire Department recommends the following prevention tips to protect yourself from heat-related stress:
• Drink cool, nonalcoholic beverages. (If your doctor generally limits the amount of fluid you drink or has you on water pills, ask him how much you should drink when the weather is hot. Also, avoid extremely cold liquids because they can cause cramps.)
• Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.
• If possible seek an air-conditioned environment. (If you don’t have air conditioning consider visiting an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library to cool off.)
• Wear lightweight clothing.
• If possible remain indoors in the heat of the day.
• Do not engage in strenuous activities.
If you have elderly relatives or neighbors you can help them protect themselves from heat-related stress by:
• visiting older adults at risk at least twice a day and watch them for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
• encouraging them to increase their fluid intake by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages regardless of their activity level.
• taking them to air-conditioned locations if they have transportation problems.