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August 1, 2006

Governor Blagojevich urges Illinois residents to take advantage of local cooling centers and energy assistance programs to stay safe during period of dangerous heat
$9 million in energy assistance funding now available

ROCK ISLAND – As the sweltering heat wave continues across the Midwest, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today met with families in Rock Island to urge them - especially the elderly, young families and persons with disabilities, to take advantage of the up to $9 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding made available yesterday to help households struggling with high utility costs. The Governor also reminded families to take advantage of statewide cooling centers and offered tips on how to stay healthy and safe in the intense summer heat. The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather warning for the Quad Cities, predicting dangerous heat through Tuesday evening.

“This heat wave is extremely dangerous and should not be underestimated. That’s why it’s important for everyone – particularly seniors, families with young children, and those with disabilities - take advantage of the resources the State of Illinois has to offer, including local cooling centers and $9 million to help families struggling to pay for utility costs,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “I am also urging Illinois residents to take some simples steps, like drinking plenty of water and limiting outdoor activities, to protect themselves and their loved ones from the intense heat.”

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat advisories throughout much of the Plains region, Upper Midwest and Mississippi Valley. More than 20 states broke 100 degrees last week.

Earlier this month, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) made more than 100 office buildings throughout the state available to serve as cooling centers. The centers are open all day and offer Illinoisans a safe and cool place to get out of the intense heat.

In addition, the Governor directed the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) to make $8 million in state and federal funding available today, through the Low Income Energy Assistance Program’s (LIHEAP) summer cooling program, to protect vulnerable populations from dangerous weather conditions and assist them with their household energy bills. ComEd gave HFS another $1 million for the LIHEAP program last week. Through the LIHEAP summer cooling program, electricity bill payments will be made on behalf of vulnerable residents at risk of losing electric service.

LIHEAP is a state- and federally-funded energy assistance program that assists households with incomes of up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level. A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,225, a two-person household up to $1,650, and a family of four can earn up to $2,500. Benefits will be paid directly to the household’s electric utility.

Individuals can apply for the energy grant at 100 local LIHEAP agencies around the state. These agencies will accept applications on a first-come, first-served basis from eligible households July 31 through August 18, or until funding for the summer program is exhausted.

The Governor today also offered tips to stay healthy in the heat. The most common heat-related conditions are heatstroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, sunburn and heat rash. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are the most serious conditions and can become serious or even deadly if unattended.
If seniors raise their thermostats to reduce cooling bills they put themselves at risk of developing heat-related problems. They are at an increased risk especially if they take certain medications, drink alcohol, lack proper nutrition and who have conditions such as arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Here are some life-saving tips on how to avoid heat-related problems.

• Use a buddy system. If you are working in the heat, check on coworkers and have someone else do the same for you. If you are at home and are 65 years of age or older or have a chronic health problem, ask a friend, relative or neighbor check on you at least twice a day, even if you have air conditioning. If you know someone who is 65 years of age or older or who has a chronic health problem, check on them at least twice a day.

• Limit outdoor activities. Try to plan activities for the coolest times of the day — before noon and in the evening. When physically active, rest frequently in the shade.

• Drink plenty of fluids. During hot weather, you will need to drink more liquid than your thirst indicates. Even if you remain indoors and limit your activity, your body still needs to replace lost fluids, salt and minerals. Make an extra effort to drink a minimum of six to eight 8 oz. glasses of cool fluids daily. During heavy exercise in a hot environment, drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour. Parents should be sure young children get sufficient fluids. If you are on a special fluid-restricted diet or if you take diuretics, ask your physician about fluid intake during hot weather.

• Protect your body. Wear as little clothing as possible when indoors, and wear light colored, loose fitting clothing outdoors. When spending time outdoors, avoid direct sunlight, wear a hat and use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) greater than 15 to protect yourself against sunburn.

• Never leave children, the elderly or pets in a parked car, not even for just a few minutes. The air temperature inside a car rises rapidly during hot weather and can lead to brain damage or death.

• A final reminder — take care of your pets. In many ways, dogs and cats react to hot weather as humans do. Offer pets extra water and be sure to place the water dish in a shaded area if outdoors. Make sure pets have a protected place where they can get away from the sun.

If you must go outside, slow down and avoid strenuous activity. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the early morning or late evening hours when it is cooler. Take regular breaks when engaged in physical activity on warm days. Try to rest often in shady or cool areas. If you recognize that you, or someone else, are showing signs of a heat-related illness, stop activity and find a cool place.

To help all Illinoisans stay healthy, safe and cool this summer, the Governor launched the statewide, comprehensive Keep Cool Illinois campaign and website last month. The Keep Cool Illinois campaign is multi-agency effort to inform Illinois residents, especially the elderly, families with small children, homeless, and persons with disabilities, how to prevent heat-related health problems, reduce their utility bills and participate in summer activities safely. More information on how Illinoisans can avoid health complications brought on by the heat, apply for energy assistance grants as well as find a cooling center in their community can call 1-877-411-9276 or go online to www.keepcool.illinois.gov.

The Keep Cool Illinois website and hotline offer various no-cost and low-cost energy saving tips, links to energy assistance programs, firework safety tips, West Nile virus prevention guides, a list of cooling center locations and other available state resources.

In addition to the website and the statewide network of cooling centers, the Keep Cool Illinois campaign includes targeted outreach to vulnerable senior citizens, energy assistance programs, public service announcements, fire safety, water safety and other tips to help families across Illinois prepare for the summer.

Keep Cool Illinois Cooling Centers

Cook County - Austin 408 North Laramie Avenue Chicago 60644
Cook County - Calumet Park 831 West 119th Street Chicago 60643
Cook County - Englewood 5323 South Western Avenue Chicago 60609
Cook County - FSE&T 935 W. Monroe Street Chicago 60624
Cook County - Garfield 500 North Pulaski Road Chicago 60647
Cook County - Humboldt Park 2753 West North Avenue Chicago 60612
Cook County - Lower North 2650 West Fulton Street Chicago 60616
Cook County - Michigan 70 East 21st Street Chicago 60616
Cook County - Northwest 4105 West Chicago Avenue Chicago 60651
Cook County - Oakland 610 West Root Street Chicago 60609
Cook County - Park Manor 1642 West 59th Street Chicago 60636
Cook County - Roseland 11203 S. Ellis Street Chicago 60628
Cook County - South Suburban 14820 South Kedzie Street Chicago 60445
Cook County - Southeast 8001 South Cottage Grove Avenue Chicago 60619
Cook County - Western 3910 West Ogden Chicago 60623
Cook County - Wicker Park 1279 North Milwaukee Chicago 60622
Cook County - Woodlawn 915 East 63rd Street Chicago 60637
Cook County - West Suburban 2701 West Lake Street Melrose Park 60160
Cook County - Northern 8020 St. Louis Avenue Skokie 60076
Adams County 300 Maine Street Quincy 62301
Alexander County 1401 Washington Avenue Cairo 62914
Boone County 2090 Pearl Street Belvidere 61008
Calhoun County 807 West Main Street Hardin 62047
Carroll County 820 South Mill Road Mt. Carroll 61053
Cass County 300 East Second Street Beardstown 62618
Champaign County 801 North Walnut Street Champaign 61824
Christian County 1100 North Cheney Taylorville 62568
Clark County 315 South 14th Street Marshall 62441
Clay County 850 Bryant Street Louisville 62858
Clinton County 1130 12th Street Carlyle 62231
Coles County 119 West State Street Charleston 61920
Cumberland County 200 South Indiana Toledo 62468
Crawford County 1110 North Allen Street Robinson 62454
Dekalb County 1629 Afton Road Sycamore 60178
Dewitt County 1275 Route 54E Clinton 61727
Douglas County 207 East Ficklin Tuscola 61953
DuPage County 146 W. Roosevelt Road Villa Park 60181
Edgar County 11773 Illinois Highway 1 Paris 61944
Effingham County 925 East Fayette Ave. Effingham 62401
Greene County 145 Walnut Street Carrollton 62016
Fayette County 228 West Johnson Street Vandalia 62471
Franklin County 1602 North Main Street Benton 62812
Fulton County 1329 North Main Street Lewiston 61542
Gallatin County 9525 Gold Hill Road Shawneetown 62984
Hamilton County Route 14 East McLeansboro 62859
Hancock County 2005 East US Highway 136 Carthage 62321
Jackson County 342 North Street Murphysboro 62966
Jasper County 910 South Van Buren Street Newton 62448
Jefferson County 333 Potomac Boulevard Mt. Vernon 62864
Jersey County 110 North Jefferson Street Jerseyville 62052
JoDaviess County 708 South West Street Galena 61036
Kane County 361 Old Indian Trail Aurora 60506
Kane County 600 South State Street Elgin 60123
Kankakee County 285 N. Schuyler Avenue Kankakee 60901
Kendall County 1304 Game Farm Road Yorkville 60560
Knox County 477 East Main Street Galesburg 61401
Lake County 3235 West Belvidere Park City 60085
LaSalle County 700 Centennial Drive Ottawa 61350
Lawrence County R.R. 1, Box 418 Lawrenceville 62439
Logan County 1550 Fourth Ave. Lincoln 62656
Macon County 707 East Wood Street Decatur 62525
Macoupin County 340 East Wilson Carlinville 62626
Madison County 608 West St. Louis Avenue East Alton 62024
Madison County 1925 Madison Avenue Granite City 62040
Marion County 800 South Locust Street Centralia 62801
Massac County 2301 Metropolis Street Metroplis 62960
McHenry County 2215 Lake Shore Drive Woodstock 60098
McLean County 501 West Washington Bloomington 61701
Montgomery County 210 East Fairground Ave. Hillsboro 62049
Morgan County 45-47 S. Central Park Plaza Jacksonville 62650
Moultrie County 625 South Hamilton Street Sullivan 61951
Ogle County 106 North Second Street Oregon 61061
Peoria County 2301 N.E. Adams Street Peoria 61603
Perry County 314 North Maple Street DuQuoin 62832
Piatt County 4012 Bear Lane Monticello 61856
Pike County 201 North Mississippi Pittsfield 62363
Pope County 106 North Market Street Golconda 62938
Pulaski County 422 South Blanche Street Mounds 62964
Randolph Street 870 Lehmen Drive Chester 62233
Richland County 1406 Martin Street Olney 62450
Rock Island County 2821 Fifth Street Rock Island 61201
Saline County 320 East Raymond Street Harrisburg 62946
Sangamon County 100 S. Martin Luther King Drive Springfield 62703
Schuyler County 111 East Washington Street Rushville 62681
Shelby County 610 West Main Street Shelbyville 62565
St. Clair County 1220 Centreville Avenue Belleville 62220
St. Clair County 225 North 9th Street East St. Louis 62201
Stephenson County 1631 South Galena Avenue Freeport 61032
Tazewell County 200 South Second Street Pekin 61554
Vermilion County 220 South Bowman Avenue Danville 61834
Wabash County 229 West 2nd Street Mt. Carmel 62863
Wayne County 215 S.E. 3rd Street Fairfield 62837
White County 1112 Oak Street Carmi 62821
Whiteside County 2605 Woodlawn Road Sterling 61081
Will County 45 E. Webster Street Joliet 60432
Williamson County 1107 West DeYoung Marion 62959
Winnebago County 1111 North Avon Street Rockford 61101


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