Over the weekend, Santa Ana’s community centers, libraries, and senior cities ramped up as as a refuge for residents looking for a break from the ongoing heatwave, which is expected to last throughout the week, according to an advisory by the National Weather Service. 

Cooling locations like Senior Centers extended their hours of operation through Labor Day. They are now back to their normal operating hours but remain an option for residents looking to cool down during the day.  

“Parks, libraries, and rec centers are back to normal hours and provide to those who don’t have access to air conditioning during peak hours of the day,” says Gaston Flores, Management Analyst for the City of Santa Ana Manager’s Office. 

Santa Ana resident Terry Galvan, visited the senior center over the weekend to cool down. Galvan’s home was built in 1937 and has no air conditioning.

Terry Galvan, Santa Ana resident, completes a crossword puzzle as she cools off in the Santa Ana Senior Center on Sept. 4, 2022. Credit: DANIEL PEARSON, Voice of OC

Galvan is not the only one. 

Santa Ana Senior maintenance worker, Enrique Cordova, has witnessed people utilizing the center when experiencing extreme heat exhaustion, adding that some stay and rest for over an hour.

Enrique Cordova, maintenance attendant at the Santa Ana Senior Center, tests a new water fountain that was recently installed for the Cooling Centers guests to have access to colder water. Credit: DANIEL PEARSON, Voice of OC

To stay healthy during the heatwave, National Weather Service recommends the following: 

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes. Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water.” 

Cooling centers are becoming necessary for many to deal with the heat, and city officials say they will continue to operate in Santa Ana while the heat wave remains in place. 

Oscar Avalos, Santa Ana resident, cools off in the Santa Ana Senior Center on Sept. 4, 2022 as a heat wave hits Orange County, prompting many local businesses and government agencies to convert into Cooling Centers. Credit: DANIEL PEARSON, Voice of OC

“We will base it on the heatwave. We will maintain these cooling centers as a viable option for the community to cool down,” says Flores, “So long as they’re open, we will send the message that they are cooling centers and let people take advantage of ac and water, even for those that are conserving energy between noon and five.” 

The heatwave is expected to continue through this Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, according to the National Weather Service. 

People cool off under the shade of trees in Santa Ana’s Birch Park on Sunday, Sept. 4 as a heatwave hit Orange County. Credit: DANIEL PEARSON, Voice of OC
The Santa Ana Senior Center serves as a Cooling Center for local residents from Sept. 1-5. A heat wave hit Orange County over Labor Day weekend, prompting many local businesses and government agencies to convert into Cooling Centers. Credit: DANIEL PEARSON, Voice of OC

Cooling Centers: 

  • Main Library, 26 Civic Center Plaza,
  • Newhope Library, 122 N. Newhope St., 
  • Santa Ana Senior Center, 424 W. 3rd St., 
  • Southwest Senior Center, 2201 W. McFadden Ave., 
  • Jerome Community Center, 726 S. Center St., 
  • Salgado Community Center, 706 N. Newhope St., 
  • El Salvador Community Center, 1825 W. Civic Center Drive, 
  • Roosevelt-Walker Community Center, 816 E. Chestnut Ave., 
  • Memorial Center, 2102 S. Flower St.,

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