TJ Regional opens hydration stations during intense heat wave

Homeless population struggle to keep cool & hydrated

GLASGOW, Ky. – Due to extreme heat forecasted for the next several days, TJ Regional Health set up hydration stations in their Glasgow Community Hospital, their Columbia Hospital and inside their TJ Health Pavilion.

TJ Samson executive vice president of marketing, planning and development Stacey Biggs said, “With this strong heat, heat-related illnesses are a real danger, so that’s why we encourage folks to take those frequent breaks and be sure to take in plenty of water, even extra water, with as hot as it is.”

No urging seems necessary, though. To the patients walking in from the hot blacktop, the chilly waters are worth their weight in gold.

David London, who has distributed the waters, said, “Since early this [Tuesday] morning, it’s running. We filled [the water container] up five times!”

While the hydration station seem to be a big hit for everybody walking in TJ Health Pavilion, access to drinks like these can be life saving to people without refrigeration or air conditioning.

Bowling Green homeless shelter Room in the Inn sees that situation much too often.

“Today, more and more people are put out on the streets and it’s getting harder and harder,” said Room in the Inn program coordinator Jarod Hines.

Good Samaritans like Hines are helping where they can – giving out microfiber cooling towels and water bottles, but that can only go so hard when intense heat waves stick around.

“Right now, there’s not really anywhere for people to go, and it’s really hot outside,” Hines noted.

Currently, Room in the Inn has winter shelters, but no summer shelters.

“This is a big issue right now. Affordable housing is really, really tough right now everywhere,” he said. “In Tennessee alone, starting July 1st they put a ban on camping in public areas up to a felony, so there’s going to be a lot more people coming through.”

So until the next breeze blows through, Biggs’ words of wisdom are to “Watch for heat-related illnesses, because it can happen before you really realize that it’s happening.”

Hines added, “Giving somebody water bottles, talking to somebody can really make a difference. Just because they’re homeless doesn’t mean they’re not human.”