Summer is here, and everyone is looking to keep cool. New York Connects is your connection to services and information in Chautauqua County. Hot weather can cause heat exhaustion in people and animals as well.
You can hear on the local TV and radio stations warnings about heat and heat indexes. What can you do?
When it's hot you can try to keep cool in a variety of ways. Avoiding the hottest times of the day to go out, usually between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is at full strength is highly recommended. If you must be outdoors wearing light clothing, hat and sun glasses is important.
Staying hydrated, taking water with you so you have it on hand, is also important.
Here a few places around Chautauqua County set up as cooling centers for senior citizens and others who have difficulty staying cool.
Suggested Cooling Centers for Senior Citizens due to Hot Weather Advisory:
Jamestown Crystal Ballroom from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena from 8 a.m. until 9:30 p.m.
James Prendergast Library 9 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday
Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood, Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
St. Mary's Church, Mayville, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Dunkirk Senior Center, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Most libraries, stores and restaurants are air conditioned as well.
If you have fans or air conditioning that can be used in your home, be aware that the Neighbor for Neighbor fund remains open for this high energy use time. National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation reminds residents that its Neighbor for Neighbor Heat Fund remains open as funds are available to provide assistance for energy-related expenses.
The Neighbor For Neighbor Heat Fund, a first-come, first-served home-heating assistance grant program, provides assistance to low-income Western New Yorkers. Qualifying Western New Yorkers may receive a one-time grant of up to $400.
In order to qualify for a grant, applicants must fall into at least one of the following classifications: be at least 55 years old; a member of their household must be handicapped or have a disability that reduces the household's income; have a certified medical emergency; or be receiving unemployment benefits.
Applicants must have made at least four payments to their heating bills within a 12-month period from the date of application. Monthly income and expenses will be verified, and grant applications are processed by administering agencies. Applicants must reside in National Fuel's service territory; however, they are not required to be a National Fuel customer.
Eligible families or individuals in need of payment assistance are encouraged to contact the following to find the nearest agency and determine the necessary documentation to bring to the application interview:
The Salvation Army at 664-4108; Catholic Charities at 856-4494 or 218-1400 (ask for Parish Outreach); or Chautauqua County Office For the Aging at 753-4471 if age 60 or over.
The Neighbor For Neighbor Heat Fund is funded by contributions from National Fuel Gas Company, its customers and employees, and other private entities. This fund was established by National Fuel in 1983 and has offered grants to more than 16,000 Western New Yorkers, totaling more than $4.5 million.
The utility also offers other programs and services and referrals to other third-party assistance programs to customers who are struggling with their heating bills. For example, the Low-Income Customer Affordability Assistance Program (LICAAP) offers an opportunity for National Fuel's customers to benefit from discounted bills and forgiveness of past-due balances. To find out more, call 1-800-365-3234 between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www.nationalfuelgas.com and look under the "For Home" section of the website. If you are having any difficulty paying your bill, call National Fuel as soon as possible.
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation is the utility segment of National Fuel Gas Company, a diversified energy holding company that is engaged in a number of natural gas-related activities. The Utility provides natural gas service to approximately 500,000 customers in 11 counties throughout Western New York. Additional information about National Fuel and its customer services is available at www.nationalfuelgas.com or by calling 1-800-365-3234.
Be careful in the hot weather; it can be just as dangerous as winter. Dehydration is when the amount of water leaving the body is more than what is taken in. When we sweat when it is hot and do not increase our water intake, we can become dehydrated. Signs and symptoms of dehydration can include: a dry mouth, headache, dry skin, sleepiness, constipation, muscle cramping, nausea and possibly vomiting, light-headedness, weakness and decreased urine output.
If you feel you may be dehydrated, call your medical professionals to see what they recommend you do. A change in your heart beat, feeling like it is racing, and confusion are signs that dehydration is progressing, and there is need to seek medical help. Dehydration is one of the most frequent causes of hospitalizations in people over 65 years of age.
NY Connects is a information and assistance telephone service provided by the state for people of all ages who have on-going health problems and needs. This service is confidential and free and focused on the consumer's needs and resources available to them. NY Connects can assist you even further by making referrals directly to several programs even while you are on the phone line, saving you time and additional phone calls. Connecting people with helpful services and programs that meet their needs is what NY Connects is here for; providing information to people who may need additional levels of care and assisting them in pursuing them.
You can access Chautauqua County New York Connects in many ways to fit your needs. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Mayville 753-4582, Dunkirk 363-4582 or Jamestown 661-7582. Fax: 753-4477. You can come to our main office location at 7 North Erie St., Mayville, in the HRC building at the county seat offices. NY Connects is brought to you by the Chautauqua County Office for the Aging and the Chautauqua County Department of Social Services.