Community members gather to provide cooling centers


With temperatures soaring this week, local organizations are working to provide residents with cooling spots.

Ned Brandenberger, manager of Sandpoint Property Management, said this year’s heat was the worst he had seen in the area, especially in June. He opened the Priest River Beardmore Building Suite 206 on the second floor as a cooling center.

Brandenberger said the extreme heat made it more difficult for many people to cool their homes to an acceptable level even with air conditioning. This is especially a risk for the elderly.

“The seniors have to go [to a cooling center] if they don’t have air conditioning, ”he said. “There are certain temperatures at which your cooling system cannot withstand the temperature.

“When it reaches a certain temperature outside, you simply cannot cool the building down to an acceptable level. We are right at the limit. “

There is also some risk that the AC units will break if the thermostat is turned below a certain value. When that happens, the capacitor can freeze, Brandenberger said.

“We have half a dozen wheeled air conditioners that we can bring with us if the air conditioner fails,” he said.

The cooling center is 86,000 square feet, he said, and will be open from there [time] to [time] on [days] for those who need it.

In addition to the local libraries, numerous other cooling centers are also opened in the Bonn district.

The Priest River Library recently opened its newest addition, said Katie Crill, director of West Bonner Libraries, and has plenty of space for visitors to stay cool, read, and keep a social distance. The library has definitely seen an increase in patronage as the weather heats up, she said.

“We’re a cooling center by nature,” she said. “We get an increase in summer when it gets hot.”

Other library locations, including Blanchard, Priest Lake, and the Sandpoint Library, will be open all week for people to come and cool off.

A number of churches also open their doors to those who want to cool off.

Lewis-Sorensen, of Cedar Hills Church in Sandpoint, told me that the church was open Thursdays from noon to 4pm and next week from Tuesday to Thursday afternoon. There will be an air-conditioned room and probably some snacks, she said.

The church also had a member of its ward who wanted to remain anonymous donate three portable air conditioners on Wednesday. In the afternoon they were all taken.

“I know I’ve got over 20 calls from different people,” she said.

This person had the units left over in their home after remodeling and suggested donating them to anyone who may have additional units of something similar.

“People who have air conditioning built in, if they might have a portable unit, they could donate it,” she said. “I even had the Aging Agency in Coeur d’Alene call me. There is an urgent need. “

Kellie Risso, a local volunteer who helped organize several cooling centers, spent several hours making sure they were available on Monday.

After four to five hours on the phone, Risso said the centers were organized with the help of numerous community members and volunteers. Several grocery stores in the area, including Super 1, Mitchell’s Harvest Foods, and Safeway, also donated several cases of water for cooling centers.

“Everyone is just very receptive,” she said. “Kudos to Safeway, Super 1 and Mitchell’s.”

Cherie Coldwell, executive director of Sandpoint Area Seniors, said people 65 and over are more prone to heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion due to factors such as medical problems, changes in the body’s response to heat, and medication they are allowed to take. It is important to check with the neighbors, she said, especially the older ones.

For those unable to get to a cooling center, there are several tools available to help them stay safe and cool.

The CDC recommends taking cool baths and showers to cool off, and cutting back on outdoor activities and drinking water before feeling thirsty. Cooking with a stove or oven is not recommended as it increases the temperature in the house.

Children and pets should never be left in the car and light, bright clothing is recommended.

Pets are also prone to heat and should be given adequate water and shade and, if possible, kept indoors with air conditioning.

Currently, many refrigeration centers cannot accept non-service animals. However, people in need of care for their animals can use the Better Together Animal Alliance’s Temporary Loving Care program for short-term emergency housing, said Andrea Nagel, director of storytelling and partnership.

Dealing with heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke

Heat cramps are muscle pain and cramps that generally occur in the leg or abdomen, Coldwell said. They can be treated by providing a liquid containing electrolytes, such as a sports drink.

Heat exhaustion is more severe and the signs include cool, clammy, pale, ashen, or reddened skin, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, and exhaustion. People suffering from heat exhaustion should be moved to a cooler location, clothing removed or loosened, and cool, wet towels placed on the skin if necessary. If the person is conscious, a small amount of fluid can be given. If conditions do not improve, 911 should be called.

Heat stroke is life-threatening and generally occurs if signs of heat exhaustion are ignored. Signs are high body temperature, red skin, changes in consciousness; fast, weak pulse; rapid, shallow breathing; Confusion, vomiting, and seizures. 911 should be called immediately if someone has heat stroke.

List of surface cooling centers:

* Note: the opening hours of some refrigeration centers may change based on temperatures and community needs

Blanchard Community Center

Open Sunday 9 am-5pm, 685 Rusho Lane

Blanchard Library

Open Wednesday 11 am-5pm and Saturday 10 am-2pm, 412 Railroad Ave.

Cabinet Mountain Calvary Chapel

Open Thursday 12pm to 5pm, 136 Calvary Way at Clark Fork. Every pet in the house is welcome.

Priest River Senior Center

Open through Friday 1-6pm, 339 E. Jackson Ave.

Priest River Library

Open Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Main St.

Beardmore building

Open daily 9 am-6pm, 50 Main St., Suite 206, on Priest River


Open Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 28769 Highway 57.

North Summit Church

Open Thursday 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., 201 N. Division Ave. in Sandpoint. Service animals only.

Newport Library

Open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 116 S. Washington Ave.

Newport Hospitality House

Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 216 S. Washington Ave.

Cedar Hills Church

Open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., today and Tuesday to Thursday of next week.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Open from 12:00 PM to 8:00 PM through Friday at 331 Westmond Road in Cocollala.

East Bonner County Library District, Sandpoint

Open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

East Bonner County Library District, Clark Fork

Open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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