Heat Becomes Safety Issue

Beating the heat is becoming more difficult as temperatures hover around 100 degrees. This is leading to an increase in demand for energy assistance.

By mid-afternoon Monday, temperatures in downtown Meridian were spiking at 101 degrees. The day-to-day rise in temperature is now leading to an increase in demand for assistance.

Multi-County Community Service Agency has a waiting list of at least 100 people for air conditioners.

"We assist with power and gas bills. We assist with purchase of air conditioners," said Letha Dunn, community service director for MCCSA. "Right now we are targeting the elderly and home-bound people for the air conditioners. So, we are going to serve people as long as we have the funding and hopefully the state will give us some additional funding."

With the economy as it is and many people out of work, Dunn says within the first six months of this year the agency has spent more than half of its allotted budget for energy assistance.

As the list for assistance continues to grow, Dunn says the agency is working hard to prioritize requests.

"We have so many requests that we are working as fast as we can," Dunn said.

Aside from just energy assistance, soaring temperatures are raising concerns about safety. After sitting still for about thirty minutes, the temperature we measured inside a car Monday jumped to well over 120 degrees.

Because of this, officials are warning the public not to leave children or pets inside enclosed vehicles without air conditioning, when it's nearly impossible to beat the heat.

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