STEUBENVILLE - Veteran mail carrier Ron Green knows how to prepare for the summer heat.
"Hydrate early and hydrate often. Drink water and Gatorade and Powerade to keep your self hydrated as much as possible. And if you know it's going to be hot tomorrow drink a lot of water the night before," Green said as he made his rounds delivering the mail Thursday afternoon.
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for the second day in a row Thursday as temperature neared the 95-degree mark. A heat advisory has been issued today from noon until 6 p.m. by the National Weather Service in Moon Township.
COOLING OFF — The Weltner triplets, Elizabeth, Katheryn and Grant, cooled off Thursday afternoon at the Jim Wood Park splash pad. Dozens of area children were at the water feature during the nearly 95-degree temperatures Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for today as temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s for the fourth straight day. — Dave Gossett
"I drank four bottles of water this morning before I left the post office. And I have bottled water in my mail truck. You have to hydrate to deal with this weather. And be prepared to sweat," added Green.
Yvette Murray, a manager at the Belleview Pool, said Thursday afternoon she is seeing "ridiculous numbers" this week.
"We have had approximately 210 people coming to the pool every day on these hot days. People are looking for a place to cool off and we offer that at the pool. We do very well on our numbers when the weather turns hot, We are open from noon until 7 p.m. every day," stated Murray.
The Starvaggi Pool in Weirton, open from noon until 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon until 8 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, has also seen an increase in the number of swimmers this week.
"There were a couple of days where we had more than 500 people. The threat of storms kept the numbers down on the other days but we are definitely seeing people at the pool looking to cool off," said Kevin Elias, program director at the Millsop Community Center.
The Weltmer triplets were hydrating Thursday from the outside in as they joined dozens of children at the Jim Wood Park splash pad.
Pam Pizzoferrato, a nanny for Elizabeth, Katheryn and Grant Weltner, sat on a nearby bench watching the trio run through the water jets.
"We have been here several days this week, usually for a couple hours a day. This helps the kids deal with the heat. This splash pad is a wonderful thing for the kids in the community," Pizzoferrato said.
Annie Fithen and her friend Kacey Moore agreed.
"This is our first time here with our kids and it has been great. We have a picnic lunch together and enjoyed the splash pad," noted Fithen.
"I brought my daughter Lydia. She enjoys meeting the other kids and playing in the splash pad. It is a cool down for the kids," said Moore.
"It has been so hot and my boys have been asking for me to bring them here. I wish the splash pad was a little larger because there are so many kids playing in the water. But I do think this is a great thing for the kids," said Jennifer Denny as she relaxed with other mothers in the shade of the restroom building on the east side of the splash pad.
"I come here at least twice a week," said Robin Crosby of Steubenville.
"I bring my two kids here and it's nice because of the playground, the shelter area with picnic table and the splash pad. And there are lots of kids here to play together. I like this park and everything it has to offer," cited Crosby.
Steubenville Street and Sanitation Superintendent Bob Baird said the Jim Wood Park splash pad is open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week.
"It is amazing. Our guys will go out at the beginning of the summer season to test the splash pad to make sure everything is working right and the kids appear out of nowhere. Then when we turn the water off they are always disappointed. We have received only good reports since the splash pad was turned on for the summer," said Baird.
He also said he has advised his employees to stay hydrated and take breaks while they can while the heat wave continues.
"These are adults, so they know their own bodies and when they are getting too hot. We are also trying to schedule several of our people to work from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. to beat some of the heat. And we will welcome some lower temperatures next week," added Baird.
The Trinity Medical Center West emergency room staff hasn't seen an increase of heat-related patients this week.
"I heard our Express Care facility in Wintersville had a few more heat related patients this week. But so far we haven't seen an increase in the number of patients because of the heat," said Keith Murdock of Trinity Health System.
The Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency is urging residents, especially the very young, the chronically ill and the elderly, to use extra care in avoiding heat-related stress.
Jefferson County Health Department Administrator Bruce Misselwitz said friends and neighbors are urged to periodically check on the elderly and those with illnesses, since they are among those at highest risk for heat-related problems.
"The best defense against heat-related problems is prevention. Staying cool and making simple changes in fluid in-take, activities and clothing during hot weather will help keep you safe and healthy. Adults and kids at work and play also need to take measures against heat stress. Summer activity, whether on the playing field, at the construction site, or anywhere else, should be balanced with measures that help the body cool off. Hot weather demands increased fluid intake, regardless of activity level," said Misselwitz.
"Increase your water intake. Don't wait until you are thirsty before you start drinking water. Do not take salt tablets without a physician's advice. Avoid beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine, because they can add to dehydration and increase the effects of heat illnesses," Misselwitz said.
"Young children may become preoccupied with outdoor play and not realize they are overheated. Adults should mandate frequent breaks and bring children indoors to cool down and have cool drinks. Children or adolescents involved in team sports should be closely monitored for signs of heat stress. Consideration should be given to modifying practice or games during the hottest parts of the day and shifting practice to cooler times," warned Misselwitz.
According to officials at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the school is prepared for the visitors on campus this week.
"There are a dozen water stations at locations across campus. You can't walk more than 100 feet without encountering one. At each station there are cups and large 10 gallon water coolers that are restocked throughout the day with filtered water and ice," said Dave Fatula, university events coordinator.
University Spokesman Tom Sofio said, "there are about 300 visitors here from across the country for the St. John Bosco Conference for Religious Educators, as well as students taking summer classes. They all have access to the water stations."
"There are about 15 participants in a girls' soccer camp. The coaches, Ward Rogers and Clare McBane, are giving the players extra water breaks and have changed the pace of the camp to accommodate for the high temperatures," Sofio said.
He added the heatwave forced the cancellation of the Thursday afternoon session of the girls' soccer camp at the university.
"All the workers in Franciscan University's Physical Plant Services watched a safety video on heat stroke Tuesday and precautions to take when working in the heat," Sofio added.
"A long-standing tradition at Franciscan University is the Tuesday-Thursday staff-faculty basketball pickup game. It is usually held indoors, but due to construction work at Finnegan Fieldhouse it takes place outdoors this summer. The game went on today, despite the heat," Sofio noted.