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By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of County News Service

June 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – As summer approaches and temperatures heat up, the County will open several “Cool Zones” starting this week.  The Cool Zones will be open from Monday through Friday between 12 noon and 5 the following inland locations:

  • Borrego Springs Library
  • Fallbrook Community Center
  • Lakeside Community Center
  • Potrero Branch Library
  • Santa Ysabel Nature Center
  • Spring Valley Community Center
  • Valley Center Branch Library

The libraries are open only as Cool Zones; no library services are available due to COVID-19.  To protect the health of Cool Zone visitors and staff, everyone entering must have their temperature taken, wear a mask and practice social distancing.  No animals are allowed, except service animals.

Homebound individuals, those lacking transportation, and those who decide to stay home due to the risk of COVID-19, may be eligible to receive a free electric fan. The County, in partnership with SDG&E, provides fans to San Diegans who are living on limited incomes.

To be eligible for a free fan, a resident must not have access to an air-conditioned space at their home or apartment building. To learn more about the fan program or to request a fan, call Aging & Independence Services at (800) 339-4661.

The Cool Zones program is offered in partnership with the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Aging & Independence Services and San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E). It was started by Supervisor Jacob in 2001 to allow seniors and people with disabilities to escape extreme heat during the summer.

“Although we need to take steps to keep seniors safe, it still remains important to also keep them cool,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “Cool Zones provide a refuge during the hot summer months, so it’s helpful the County has developed a plan to get them open.”

“We want to thank our SDG&E community partner for making this program available to give some relief from the heat to our more vulnerable residents,” said Supervisor Jim Desmond, whose district covers parts of North County out to the desert.

For more information about the Cool Zones, visit

Tips to Beat the Heat

Aging and Independence Services offers Cool Zones to help older adults keep cool during hot summer days. But there are other things people can do to beat the heat:

Slow down. Be your most physically active during the coolest part of the day, usually between 4-7 a.m. Pace yourself when engaging in physical activity.

  • Stay indoors as much as possible. If air conditioning is not being used, stay on the lowest floor. Keep shades down and blinds closed, but windows slightly open.
  • Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help sweat evaporate, which cools your body.
  • Take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath.
  • Avoid using the oven.
  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect away some of the sun's heat.
  • Air out hot cars before getting into them.
  • Never leave children or pets inside vehicles at any time, even with the windows cracked. Temperatures inside a vehicle can reach lethal levels no matter what the weather is like.
  • Drink more fluids than usual even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Water is the safest liquid to drink during heat emergencies. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine; they make the heat's effects on your body worse.
  • Eat small meals and eat more often. Avoid foods that are high in protein, which increases metabolic heat.
  • Avoid using salt tablets unless directed to do so by a physician.
  • If you take diuretics, ask your physician about a lower dosage during hot weather.
  • If it is safe to do so, leave windows open at night. Open windows on two sides to create cross ventilation.
  • Place a piece of cardboard covered with aluminum foil in sunny windows to reflect sunlight and heat away from the house.
  • Vacuum, clean or replace air filters regularly for maximum cooling efficiency.
  • If affordable, install outdoor awnings or sunscreens.
  • Call your physician if you feel you may be experiencing a heat-related illness.

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Windows open

I worked with a man from the Philipine Islands, or "The PI" as he called it. He lived in East San Diego and left the windows open so his house would be cooler. His sons were concerned that he may be robbed so Bill slept in his car on the street.